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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favourite Colour? Wool! Just Don't Mess with it!

What is your favourite colour? I was asked this question in an interview. Wow, well, let me see... No when I think of it… Hmmmm I have been thinking about it for a month?!!! Why is it so difficult to answer a simple question like that? How shall I go about it? Historically? Conceptually? Trendwise? How do I reveal the truth without committing to something that is not at the core of me? As a design and textile woman colour is obviously part of the form and often it determines the function. In fashion, on the edge of what I am skirting with my handmade pieces, colour is sometimes just another school yard game of In & Out. Or in the words of Galinda the White: “Popular? You wanna be popular?”. Yep in fashion, one day Red is the New Black, another day – you are to throw out everything that is not signal green.
Which could be either amusing, confusing or irritating depending on how much coffee you have had. Let’s take red. You see, I think I am an expert on red- I grew up in communism. Red was the brand colour of communism. So even today when I get red it has to be the one on the left of the above picture. The scarlet is a bit too orange for my understanding. Look for reference in the communist scout uniforms that those girls are wearing. Well, maybe red is the answer to my struggles with my opinion on colour. I have seen colours rise and fall with political regimes, seasons, people and even movies. The things is whatever we claim to be the In & Out, roses would be red and violets would be blue you do not need trends, just do what you do. Here is what I am thinking for next year:
Yep, I seem to be not able to play the popularity game... If you have asked me through the years the answers were: Red, Green, Purple (and I am getting into Blue really seriously lately). The irony is that if you look at pictures of what I wore these colours would have been far and in between. You would have seen the hand knitted sweater from mum in beige and brown. I still wear it often to work. The skirts in black, which were my first projects in sewing. And then a lot of my clothes, which I picked from the Shanghai fake brand market: in skin, ivory and brown and black... And yep, I do wear a white punjabi suit at the Taj Mahal (take picture), and a Beige trench coat when I arrived in Ireland. A splash of colour in an abundance of naturals- both in colour and materials. I look in these reflections. What actually IS my favourite colour? So today I will brave it: my favourite colour is the colour of wool. And here are three reasons why: It is Rich and Yet Unassuming: I love it for the richness of its blends- if you look closely it is never just white, beige or brown, it is usually a blend of ivory streaks with oatmeal overtones and a few coffee streaks. Black is never black and grey has more than 50 shades… Each breed of wool has almost a unique colour and the overall visual impact comes from seeing the blend. The difference between the more blueish grey of the Gotland to the more browner beige feel of the Jacobs is stunningly subtle, but fascinating to relish. But then put Jacobs next to Blue Faced Leicester and you know that grey overtones are complex affair. And that is before we even start discussing lustre and texture, which make all the difference when we compare a white think Wensleydale and Merino wool tops. At the other scale wool which is almost black in its dark browns such as Finish becomes a wonderful blend which binds all these colours together. With all wool colours though it is like a bouquet of a pallet rather than a single colour. And although it carries rich undertones and overtones it would never blind you or be too loud. It is just there to soften and comfort.
It is Vernacular and Yet Sophisticated; the shades and their proportion come as they are because the season was wet or dry, because the sheep was roaming in a particular grass field, because the Sheppard sheered it on a particular day. It gives lustre and blends which, with their complex hues of grey, ivory, white and black always convincingly revealsthe nature of the material as well as the conviction of the person that wears it.
It is Classical and Yet Edge; a colour range that is never pertinent to time and place- its honesty and simplicity makes it relevant to any age and any context. It looks stunning in a royal parlour and a farmer’s pen. It is as fashionable today when we have access to the most stunning colour as it was in the olden days when it was The Colour, and that’s that! And whether you wear it on an elaborate designer outfit or something you made yourself it just enhances the rest without overpowering it. And then it has this amazing quality to reflect mood and concept that makes it the household colour to all futuristic and apocalyptic visualisations.
Yes, undyed wool is the best colour. And that is that.

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