THE MAGIC BEHIND ORANGE
With a reputation for being difficult to pull off, orange veers from warm gold to amber to terracotta, conveying energy, love, heat and fertility. This combination of red and yellow lives on the flames of fire, Botticelli's work, the glow of a sunset, the juice of citrus fruits and all those summer Aperol Spritz glasses, but also on hazmat suits, prison jumpsuits, life jackets and traffic signals. One thing is for sure - orange will always make an impact.
Facts about orange!
- FIrst appeared in clothes in 1502 by Elizabeth of York.
- 'Orange' is derived from the Persian word narang. It is one of the newest colour names in the English language and was first recorded being used in 1512.
- It is linked to the Dutch King William of Orange (1650 - 1702) and since then has a long-lasting legacy in Netherlands representing the Orange-Nassau royal family and decorating the country's flag and national football team uniform.
- In 1672, Isaac Newton's discovery of the light spectrum made the orange colour official.
- Madder root, onion skin, smoke tree leaves, brazilwood, and saffron are the most common natural dyes for dyeing textiles with orange throughout the years.
- In 1809, French scientist Nicolas Louis Vauquelin, synthesized the first artificial orange pigment known as chrome orange, using as base the mineral crocolite.
Primavera by Sandro Botticelli
Made by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, Primavera was created either in the late 1470s or early 1480s. Draped in orange fabrics, the goddess of love, Venus, represents love and fertility. The oranges on the background symbolise wealth, romance and beauty.
The Hermès coveted box
Once upon a time, Hermès brand decided that its packaging should be cream with a golden border. A few years later, this changed and became beige with a brown border. However, World War II caused shortages of supplies across France, forcing Hermès to change their branded packaging to what the cardboard manufacturer had left - the coveted orange gift box.
Rita Hayworth, the 'Love Goddess'
In the 1930's, Rita Hayworth dyed her hair a vibrant auburn and transformed her dark-haired Spanish-American self into an all-American 'Love Goddess'. Her fiery sex-symbol status was reflected numerous times through the orange shades of her costumes, such as the orange Spanish - style skirt in The Loves of Carmen (1948), the shimmery orange dress in Miss Sadie Thomson (1953) and the orange gown in Pal Joey (1957).
The Schiaparelli lobster dress
The lobster dress, a collaboration between Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí, is one of the most infamous creations. The orange lobster motif was printed onto a white silk organza dress, whose placing was considered risky for covering the body in a sexually suggestive way. In May 1937, Wallis Simpson was featured in Vogue wearing the dress as part of her trousseau for her marriage to Edward VII, later the Duke of Windsor. The dress identified the much maligned Simpson as brazen woman.
Orange is the new black
In 2010, Piper Kerman wrote her prison memoirs, which was later adapted into the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange is the new black. The title was inspired by a letter from a friend and a New York Times fashion column included, which featured different women dressed in orange. As a fashion-conscious woman, Kerman was looking at this article every day and realised that 'orange was the new black'. In reality, only in the US prison system and those in transit or have yet to be fully incarcerated wear orange.
YOUNG, Caroline. 2022. The colour of fashion. London: Welbeck.