Blue is the colour
There are some colours are so beautiful and unearthly that they can make a garment speak for itself. These are the colours that don’t need jazzing up with patterns, trims or fripperies of any kind. Now I don’t have one particular favourite colour (I like different colours for different things) but if I had to choose one colour that I thought was the most purely beautiful for its own sake, it would be blue. Not a namby pamby pastel baby blue, but a rich full bodied exuberant saturated blue. The jewel blue of ground up lapis lazuli. A blue close to the monochromatic canvases of Yves Klein and his quest for the perfect blue which led him to invent International Klein Blue (a colour supposedly beyond the gamut of computer monitor display).
What’s brought on all this talk of blue? Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about blue dresses recently. I think it all started when I came across this painting and fell in love with the dress:
‘Mariana’ by Sir John Everett Millais, 1851.
The pre-raphaelite painters certainly understood blue:
‘April Love’ by Arthur Hughes, 1856.
The blue here is lighter but has been painted to have an almost purple iridescence- it almost seems to glow.
Blue has had various contradictory symbolic interpretations through the ages, being the colour of piousness and purity, love and lust. I wonder if it’s this contradictory mystery of it that made the pre-raphaelite painters dress their “complicated” women characters in it:
‘Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress)’ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1868.
Apparently letters from Jane to Rosetti indicate she made the dress herself.
I may have to follow her example!