Sunday, November 6, 2011

Designer's Color Crush

As a designer, I admit, I become infatuated--obsessed even--with trends, styles, products and colors, and with so many exciting developments in the interior design industry, it’s hard not to have a new decorative fetish almost every day!  In fact, I have a feeling most designers (and slaves of style) know exactly what I’m talking about, and I suspect they too have suffered the occasional color crush. 

So are you ready for the inside scoop on this designer’s latest obsession?  (Drum roll, please.)  My favorite color for this season is…Purple.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  I am not talking about Disney Princess Purple.  I’m talking about a hue with a royal past:  a rich, deep, grounded color, like Benjamin Moore’s Incense Stick 2115-20, or a lighter, more ethereal one like Etiquette AF-50 or Paper Mache AF-25.  [And just as an aside, I generally only specify Benjamin Moore paint because I love the company’s low- to no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) products and commitment to environmental stewardship.  In fact, Benjamin Moore was named one of the top 35 GREEN companies in the U.S.]  But back to my favorite color (at least for today), the earthy aubergine hue, and I’m not its only admirer.  Benjamin Moore actually named Vintage Wine 2116-20, a dusty plum with a brown undertow, its color of the year for 2011.

For me, purple evokes images of lavender fields in Provence and lily pads in ponds of murky water.  And have you ever noticed how perfectly Mother Nature pairs purple with yellow?  Think orchids and pansies.  And while purple and yellow are complements on the color wheel, you don’t need a course in color theory to come up with splendid color schemes.  Just do what I do when I’m seeking inspiration:  take a walk outside (sans cell phone) and notice the hues nature organically blends together.  You’ll see how seamlessly purples, yellows, greens, browns and white come together in nature. 

In addition to the complementary purple-yellow pairing, another trendy way to approach eggplant is to pair it with warmer colors (like reds and oranges) for a more global, ethnic look.  This tribal trend has been strong in fashion and is now influencing interiors as well.  Purple is a soulful color, so its preeminence in global/ethnic color schemes is natural.  Long associated with royalty, purple still has a magical, whimsical and mysterious quality.  Purple is also highly spiritual, and in yoga is associated with the highest chakra (see also my blog post “Chakras in Interiors”).  Interestingly enough, yellow symbolizes wisdom, and the color is not only an aesthetic match, but a psychological and spiritual one as well.

I guess that’s why purple pacifies me today, in this particular moment.  With so many things changing in my life and with so much instability in the world, I could use a little more soulfulness and--goodness knows--a whole lot of wisdom!  And perhaps, you will find as I have, that it’s nice to come home to a microcosm of playful whimsy and imagination that fosters dreams and possibilities.

But before I go, I’ll leave you with a little literary inspiration, just to show that artists of all types have been inspired by the playful hue.  My favorite, of course, is Warning by Jenny Joseph, which starts with that famous line:  “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple…”  However, I came across a more recent tribute to my latest crush.  The following quote is from Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and even though she’s talking about a sofa, I believe her sentiments hold true for any to purple product:  “Friday is purple-velvet-sofa-day for some poor woman who’s finally reclaimed her life.  A purple velvet sofa is a gal’s symbol of freedom.”   There you have it.  Purple represents freedom from convention.  Reclaim your freedom today—and put a little purple in your life!   

For Benjamin Moore’s full trend report, check out Envision Color 2011:

Pictured:  Benjamin Moore Grape Green 2027-40, Smoke 2122-40, Kendall Charcoal HC-166, Royal Flush 2076-20

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