The "Chiefs" of Color

July 7, 2013 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Gerald Joseph explores the history of color within the fashion industry, and how it shapes our everyday lives.

From magazine covers to companies that specialize in color. These “pillars” of influence continue to evolve and shape the industry of what we know currently.
Pictured below are color palattes from Vogue magazine covers around the globe. British artist Richard Buxton completed a study in 2011 examining the history of color in fashion.

From Fastcodesign: Using open-source sampling tools, Buxton located the five most prominent colors in each issue’s cover, then stacked them on top of each other to create a color sandwich. The sandwiches were then arranged into columns, with each vertical column representing a year of magazine covers, and each horizontal column representing a month. So looking at British Vogue covers here, that’s September 1981 at the bottom right. Scan up, and you’ll see August 1981 at the top right; scan across, and you’ll see September 2011 at the bottom left.

Color from US Vogue Covers

Color from Italian Vogue Covers

Color from British Vogue Covers

 Color from French Vogue Covers
Italy and France --- Darker color palettes
United States and Great Britain --- Color (U.S. tends to lean towards white color palettes)
Quote from Fastcodesign:
What do the charts tell us? Mostly, they just affirm some long-held stereotypes about fashion in different parts of the world. Note how the palettes of Italy and France are overall much darker than those of the United States and the UK, lending credence to the notion that “wearing color” in Paris and Milan means dressing in head-to-toe black. There is also a startling amount of white in U.S. Vogue, and not just before Labor Day. So our terrible fashion sense is all Anna Wintour’s fault. Refreshing to know.

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