Pop Life

The last in my series of spring "Upbeat" colour palettes is one I've called Pop Life. Now, when you read that you have to say it with a British accent, because that's how I'm saying it. Get it now? Good. Click to see full size.

I've been obsessed with a primary colour palette recently. Last night when trying (somewhat fruitlessly) to decide what to wear to Toronto Fashion Week, I had on a dress that was bright blue with red shoes and a yellow purse. It didn't quite work, but that was more on account of it not being the exact right pair of red shoes than anything. But I digress, this isn't about what I'm going to wear! My point is that there is something very fresh and new about pairing colours as they are paired on the colour wheel. Be it Primary - Red, Blue, Yellow or a complimentary pairing like Purple and Yellow, these colour groups vibrate with dynamic energy that our society is so desperately craving right now.

We've all done red to death. Yellow was the new hot colour in the past couple of years, even being named Pantone's colour of the year for 2009. And blue is the hot new hue. This year's colour of the year according to Pantone is turquoise, a very deep blue-green tone more similar to aqua than grass. It really is a blue, and blue will continue to be more important over the next few years.

It is interesting to me that Pantone named a sunny yellow the colour of the year during a terrible economic collapse. Though colour trends trickle down slowly, yellow took off like a shot, as it had been underused and under worn for years. It felt fresh - but yellow also was the right choice in a time when nothing was going right. It reminds us of sunshine, childhood and warmth. As the economy stabilizes, we are now not so desperate for the 'anything that will cheer us up' colour. Though we still want and crave upbeat colours, we are ready to take a softer approach. That's when blue comes in. Blue is everyone's favourite colour. Ok, not everyone, but almost:

From a survey conducted by three global marketing firms that determined blue is overwhelmingly the favorite color of people in each of 17 different countries:

The survey by Cheskin, MSI-ITM, and CMCD/Visual Symbols Library found out the following fun facts to know and tell:
--42 percent of Americans are fans of blue, as are 47 percent of Germans and 44 percent of Brazilians.
--Overall, 40 percent of people worldwide picked blue as their favorite color.
--The second most favorite color is purple, which was chosen by only 14 percent worldwide. 

Blue feels safe, calming and is associated with the sky and the ocean. But, we grew tired of blue in the last two decades, so blue hasn't been really popular in some time but it always classic. Turquoise isn't as safe as navy blue, nor as calm as robin's egg, but it goes with everything, including other blues like Navy. It goes with black, grey and yellow, colours we likely all have in our wardrobes and homes by now. It's an evolution on the upbeat colour, without being risky or expensive.

So in this colour palette, I've played with the turquoise blue, a true cobalt and a light blue. This helps balance the bright hot red and egg yolk yellow, and keeps the palette from being too kindergarten-classroom and more chic-brights.

More and more we are willing to purchase things in bright colours - this trend started in the early 2000's with iMac computers, which were the first electronic do-hickey to be released in a rainbow of hues.  Now you can buy a washer dryer combo in crimson, a pair of work boots in baby pink and a coffee maker in cobalt blue. This isn't new - it just hasn't been seen since the 70's, when an Avacado stove or Baby Blue bathtub were not at all uncommon. That was a time when we did not fear colour!

Through the 80's, that lack of fear of colour went haywire, and we got multi-hued sponge painted walls, burgundy carpet and neon everything in our wardrobes. As a result, a deep fear of colour and stylistic over- indulgence developed that has dominated fashion and home decor throughout the late 90s and 2000's. Remember the early 2000s, and the grey sheath dresses with simple silver jewellery? That look seems so tired and outdated now, but at the time it was a revolution, and it is one that has dominated for nearly 20 years. (Good god, is it really 2010?) Note houses in 'contemporary' style - beige, taupe, white...when people removed their 80's decor, they were so fearful of making the same mistakes, they have refused to take any risk at all. This has evolved and now includes geometric patterns, asian themes (minimalism), dark woods, perhaps the occasional pop of red - but the very thought of putting a red stove in the kitchen hasn't really been accepted fully until right at this very time. It is so accepted now that it is considered the height of popular style.

My prediction is that we'll continue to see the influence of those iMac computers throughout our homes. As we wait for the economy to further stabilize, we'll have fun with what we can - vintage shopping is a treasure trove of bright jewellery and home decor peices from the 70's and 80's that are positively spilling with the current colour trends. If we must 'invest', we'll have fun with it - and get that red stove simply because we love it. The beauty of the primary colour palette in decor the retro-diner feel to it. We can use colour now to express nostalgia, while still looking totally current and new.

Horray! We're finally ready for colour.

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