When you ask my kids, “What’s mommy’s favorite color?” without hesitation they will answer “black.” Perhaps growing up in NYC is where I learned to love the color black. My entire wardrobe is black. However, when I was growing up as a child, they didn’t make black clothes for babies or children. The color black was considered taboo. Today my daughter’s wardrobe consists of a variety of fashionable black clothes from head to toe. Sadly but fittingly, when my father passed away a year and a half ago, my daughter wore a silky black blouse, black skirt, black tights and black patent leather shoes to the funeral. When asked by a guest, did I buy this outfit specifically for the occasion, I replied “no, fortunately we had it.”
While on the subject of fashion…the LBD never goes out of style and is constantly being reinvented through new materials and designs. Tonight I had dinner with my family in Ridge Hill (new shopping center in Yonkers) and I happened to pass a White House / Black Market shop. I hate shopping, but was familiar with the store (my close friend raves about it), so I went in. I have to admit the “black” attracted me to the store. To my surprise, they had some very nice clothes. The materials, textures, and designs were classic yet contemporary and well tailored. The concept was simple, the clothes were merchandised well and the staff was friendly. The store offers black and white clothes and each season they focus on an accent color such as red, wine, and now metallic gold / silver for the holidays. I walked away with a new black and white patterned dress and the store gained a new customer. I think I’ll be back.
Moving to packaging…when I was in art school at Washington University in St. Louis (many years ago) we had an advertising project to design a new dog food package for Purina. Purina invited us to present our concepts. At the time, I designed a sleek black package. This was unheard of – food wasn’t ever packaged in black, not even dog food. Flash forward. Here are just a few examples of current black dog food packages …Walmart Pure Balance, Merrick Grain Free and ProBiotic Live.
Black is now a standard packaging color in beauty care products. About seven years ago I remember when black was the “it” package color and naming convention in men’s fine fragrance with the likes of Polo Black and Double Black, Kenneth Cole Black and Vintage Black, and Kiton Black.
Black continues to be a popular naming convention used in fine fragrance, but now the emphasis is on an ingredient. Recent introductions include Byredo Black Saffron, Demeter Black Bamboo and Black Ginger, and Comme de Garcons Black Play. However, the most exciting new black product out is Lady Gaga’s Fame fragrance. It’s touted as the first of its kind because the juice is black and once airborne it applies transparent on skin.
The English word black isn’t good enough and the newest buzzword is “Noir” (black in French). A few new honorable mentions are Chanel Coco Noir, which the company describes as “nocturnal Baroque – a celebration of Gabrielle Chanel’s use of black and Venice’s influence on her designs and her life,” Tom Ford Noir and Agent Provocateur Pétale Noir.
We are even seeing black packaging in household products such as Downy Unstopables “an in wash scent booster” and Method Home Dish+Hand soap in a new eco-friendly package made from ocean plastic.
I look forward to seeing the continued use of the color black in design across industries and finding new places it hasn’t been used yet. Have you seen black used in new markets or new ways?
P.S. My idea of mixing my wardrobe up is wearing black and white patterns (new for me), venturing into grey and if I’m feeling really crazy, adding a dash of red.