Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Color Blocking

 What exactly is color blocking?

Quite simply, color blocking is the technique of combining colors that compliment each other, in a bold way.  This trend has been resurrected from the 1960s, when Ives Saint Laurent first created the "Mondrian" day dress."

Ives Saint Laurent "Mondrian" day dress, now part of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Piet Mondrian, of course, was a Dutch painter from the first half of the 20th century, who was famous for his canvasses painted with vertical and horizontal lines filled in with bold primary colors.

Piet Mondrian, Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930

Saint Laurent popularized this look in the 1960s.  Every mod on the planet owned a dress in color-blocking.  Like all trends eventually do, this look faded away when the hippie look became popular.  But, it came back into fashion in the late 1980s, early 1990s in an even bolder look.  (Picture any woman from any television show from the 1980s and you get the idea.)

Claudia Schiffer, cover of Cosmopolitan magazine 1992

 While the 1960s approach is currently popular as well, when you hear the term "color blocking' these days, you'll find the trend is more similar its 1980s incarnation.  Think: Fuschia jacket, purple blouse, blue pants.  It's everywhere this season, from shoes to dresses.  Lots of dresses in stores now have already done the work for you.  Perhaps you're already following this trend.  Get an idea from the photos below and give it a try! 

Gucci, Spring 2011

Charlotte Olympia
Stella McCartney

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