Model Diary: Chartreuse, Burnt Pumpkin & Honeysuckle

Hoary holidays from Canada! All this cold and gray makes me yearn for the warm and color from Miami two weeks ago. I went down for a day to shoot Marie Claire, and even though it was chilly by Florida standards, it was radiant compared to this frozen abyss. I hate to talk about the weather though, so let’s get to that second point that made the shoot so significant: color. One thing that was made clear to me yet again during this shoot was that people in the fashion industry have an acute understanding of color. As I changed into each look, the makeup artist and stylist discussed different color options for eye makeup that would complement the clothes. During one particular outfit change, the makeup artist used the word chartreuse to describe the touches of neon yellow in the Dries collection. How beautiful and soft and historic her chartreuse was to my ugly, reductive neon yellow! And I consider myself a woman of words!

Hearing them speak made me realize the baseness and inaccuracy of my own sense of color. Like when Meryl Streep calls out Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada; we shouldn’t be so ignorant to call something blue, when it is in fact cerulean. Those in the fashion industry use and interpret color in a way akin to artists. I touched on this in another post, when I wrote about how makeup and hair are art forms (I am always overwhelmed when I see the palette of colors laid out on the makeup table—so many colors with such subtle differences, yet the artist is so comfortable and decisive about which colors to use and blend). During this shoot, though, I realized that this comfort with color is not unique to the makeup artist, but to anyone who follows style. Understanding the significance of color is just as important as creating with it. To some, the long list of colors may seem like fashion jargon, but I feel like it must be personally enriching to know and identify each hue. Life might seem brighter and more colorful if I could call each tone by name, instead of struggling to articulate between blues.

A literary friend of mine once saw beauty in a term he coined to describe a skirt I was wearing: burnt pumpkin. Yes, he was drunk at the time, and likely on some psychedelic drug, but he seemed so satisfied by his description, as though he had captured some elusive truth in vintage Rodier.

I thought about this importance of color, and of understanding color, on the subway the other day, while reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved (already one of my favorite books, and I’m only halfway through). Color plays such an important role in the protagonists’ lives. It brightens. It revitalizes. It makes life more bearable amidst a dismal reality of dusty grays. And reading such a poignant truth about color on the M train, on a particularly muted day, made me aware of its importance in my own environment. It seems especially crucial now, back in wintry Canada. So, as the days become whiter with snow and darker with earlier sunsets, I’m going to make a concerted effort to acknowledge whatever colors I can find, and hopefully build up my vocabulary with their wonderfully descriptive names. Some beautiful ones to look forward to for spring, according to Pantone’s Fashion Color Report: honeysuckle, coral rose, silver peony, peapod.