Fifty shades and more...

by - Sunday, February 22, 2015

The surname encapsulates a trilogy... Cosmetic hues suggest smoky intrigue... Eggshell and gloss pigment sedate space... A bridal entourage swathe in ombre elegance...
Not a compromise, but a bridge between two sides... and a true chameleon...

Meet grey.

The intermediate between black and white, grey is achromatic, a neutral. Every aspect of current culture from fashion and home to urban pop has been shaded by this phenomenon. It has become the latest affection in a universe of individual expression. What is it that has the whole world gravitating to this boring color of conformity commonly associated with old age and uncertainty?
Grey is much more than just the color of the month, season or year. Therein diffuses elegance, a sophistication of "color without color".  Rolled on a Paris apartment wall, warming-up sumptuous pure cashmere, peppering bold tresses on cosmopolitan elite, who needs color anyway? Classic and cool, with undoubted charisma, there is an answer to why grey has become the go-to color in this shift... 

In antiquity we find innovation.

With the overwhelming success of E.L. James' books, Fifty Shades of Grey, a plethora of markets are now clouded with smoking hot products to advance the capitalist currency. Talk about a new grey area!

Well before Fifty Shades, there has been an overall shift from saturated, bold color to a more demure palette, color gradually being stripped until all that is left is a slight cast. With unlimited hues, the range of grey varies from Benjamin Moore's most searched paint color Revere Pewter to deep charcoal. Grey and greige are the new buzz words replacing black as the go-to color. Everything from paint chips to beads, fur, and ceramics, are bathed in this palette adding layers of depth, in fresh shades contrary to the stale definitions associated with the grey of yesteryear. What is old is new.

While the trend reports tout grey hair as the look for 2015, "granny chic" has already been spotted back in 2010 in the questionable-at-the-time grey streaks of Kate Moss. Fast forward, on the runway at Dolce & Gabbana, advertising campaigns for Celine and Yves Saint Laurent, many top fashion houses followed the slated stepping stones. American model and style icon, Carmen Dell'Orefice, 83, still going strong in Elie Tahari's Fall / Winter 2015 presentation said, "I've had more covers in the past 15 years than I had in all the years before that". Grey dames of the world, rejoice!

But going grey is no longer exclusive to the 50+ set. Young celebrities and avant-garde women of all ages (and men) are silver foxing their manes, naturally or with some salon help. Brian Oliver, hairstylist whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Elle and Vogue notes, "It either flatters you or ages you; it depends on your coloring, complexion or how you carry it off". For many, like myself, it is about being liberated from the cycle of dyeing. This freedom has made going grey easy, confident of our salt and pepper coiffure.

Pantone's Glacier Gray is one of the top colors for this Spring / Summer 2015 season, prominent on the catwalks across the continents. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, "Glacier Gray is an unobtrusive gray that contrasts and enhances; bouncing off other shades without taking away from them... Nature's most perfect neutral, Glacier Gray is a shade that is timeless. Quietly assuring and peacefully relaxing... above all, constant". It also continues to lead the Fall 2015-16 collections premiered during fashion week.

On the home front, haven't we seen lots of interior photos sans tincture? Though shaded with ashen, dusky hues, surface color reflects a subdued elegance in shades of grey. Concrete washed walls, weathered wood flooring, polished silver accessories in the kitchen and bath accent spaces void of color, yet establish a fresh backdrop for modern living. 

Even in the garden outside, everything from the latest care-free composite decking to rustic stone-walk creations, grey's innate ability to blend with nature instills calmness in the surroundings. Contemporary and classic at the same time.

Gives a whole new meaning to the grey area, doesn't it? In fifty shades and more...

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