Ever since I started watching MAD MEN last year, and saw the film Revolutionary Road, I’ve been feeling the pull to the muted, nicely co-ordinated paleness of the colours of that era. I remember all too well, the long preparation to go on a family outing where my sister and me were dressed in matching outfits with perfectly pulled back sprayed hair. The feeling of wanting control but also wanting to bust out of the Jell-O mold, comes back to mind. No wonder what followed was the Punk phenomenon.
Trends are cyclical. We know that now. Just look at the beautifully dressed celebrities at the Golden Globes last week. The free flowing hair and bold colours are gone and we’re seeing, retro updoes and classically designed gowns in soft colours.
This doesn’t mean we’ve lost our edge, especially in décor, it just means that we are feeling the need to cocoon, reflect and reassess.
The colour grey is a perfect colour for this period in our society because it is associated with the practical, timeless, middle-of-the-road, solid things in life. It provides a rock solid feeling. And when you consider the metallic offshoot colour of silver, it portrays a strong character ; a “sterling silver” character in fact.
Words that describe the colour grey – classic, collected, composed, competent, conservative, conventional, cultured. The Gray Lady is the nickname of the New York Times. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, by Sloan Wilson is a 1950’s novel and film about the American search for purpose in the world dominated by business. We make reference to a concept having no category as being in a “grey area”.
Grey was a very popular colour in fashion and décor in the mid to late 80’s. Back then; pairing grey with burgundy was very fashionable. But today our tastes are more sophisticated and adding a dramatic punch of colour with patterns for texture creates a very pleasing balance.
The colour experts at Farrow & Ball, suggest that we take inspiration from industrial architecture. “Old and new are combined in an urban palette of muted tones that mimic the earthy shades of natural materials such as stone, clay, chalk and brick.” They suggest combining the paint colours of gray-based neutrals such as Cornforth White and Pavilion Gray with intense and inky darks such as Off-Black and Down Pipe.
There are warm greys and cold greys as seen below. In décor, lean towards the warm greys and pair with bold coloured pillows and accessories. We’ll talk more about that next week.
We are in a very grey period, here in Toronto. Have a look around and see the colour coming through the grey. Share your pictures and I’ll post them at the end of the week.