Colour my world! Why spring’s colours are so irresistible

Mar 29 2012 by
Categories : Fashion

  I’m not exactly sure what’s behind my rather sudden—and unexpected—sartorial adventure with prints and colours. We’re talking wildly patterned flowers and geometric slashes, not to mention bold corals, emerald greens, lush yellows and vibrant pinks. My nun-chic dark-hued preferences are legendary. I can wax on about the subtle shades of black with as many descriptors as the Inuit have for snow (from coal, charcoal, obsidian and onyx to soot and sable). So, what gives? Even before I accepted the “colour” challenge last week from my hue-adventurous colleagues (features editor 
Kathryn Hudson and associate editor 
Ally Dean), a subtle style shift had begun to take place. Two weeks ago, I opened my closet and felt burdened and bored by a solid wall of black. “I think I need to bring some colour into my life,” I said to my husband. “Yes, that’s a great idea. Do you want to go shopping this weekend?” he asked (a little too quickly, I might add). Every spring, designers attempt to seduce us with their colour statements. I’ve been immune to their persuasions for years, but there’s something about this season that is irresistibly cheerful and optimistic, from Prada’s whimsical car prints and 
Christopher Kanes floral appliqués to a parade of delicate
pastels in violet, peach, sea green and icy blue. Even Isabel Marant—a designer who isn’t known for her sunny sensibility—showed a weakness for lemon and coral shades.

So what else—or who else—was behind my colour conversion? Read on.
I think my recent chat with
Calla Haynes in Paris may have contributed to my new-found colour cravings as well. After the Paris-based Toronto-born designer showed me her relentlessly charming, cheerful and playful fall/winter 2012/2013 collection, I felt like I was the dark cloud in the room in my head-to-toe sombre ensemble. “What do you think is the difference between people who can wear prints and colours and those who can’t?” I asked her. “For me, a print person is quite curious, quite sensitive and passionate about the arts,” she said. “I imagine my clients aren’t afraid to dress differently—they’re willing to take risks and be playful with colours and patterns.” Ouch! “I’m curious—and definitely sensitive,” I thought to myself. “I shy away from colours and patterns because my mind is bouncing around with ideas and activities. Because of this ‘mental activity,’ I prefer that my surroundings—including my clothes—are calming and Zen-like. I’m not filling an empty void with distracting pigments and patterns!” My self-talk was clearly becoming a little too defensive. (The lady doth protest too much….) So, with my husband’s kind insistence—okay, he reminded me three times that we could go shopping for something colourful—I splashed out in rainbow hues, florals and abstract patterns last week. One shirt—a collage of orange-sherbet and honey-coloured leaves—even had a band of lace. Yet another rather shocking girlie/lady-lady embellishment
pour moi! People who have known me for years did double takes in the hallway. Double takes. My publisher stopped talking mid-sentence in a meeting when I walked in wearing a wildly flowered and striped cotton shirt. “Noreen—I’ve never seen you in a pattern!” My all-black looks never garnered this kind of attention. Last night, I attended the spring trend report at the Bay with fashion director Suzanne Timmins. Her first words to the gathered crowd: “We’ve embraced colour this season!” Me too.

Categories: Fashion