Justine Fox, colour expert at Global Color Research, presents the colour of the month, helping us to understand how colour psychology affects trends. This month she looks at the undeniable sophistication and elegance of Grey.
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If ever a colour was ubiquitous in the mass market it is Grey. First seen in Autumn/Winter 09/10 Mix trend Contour (Mix Trends colour forecast book issue 17), there is literally a rainbow of greys from charcoal to dove, turning up on everything from carpets (pictured is Chevalier èdition) to paints. Grey/silver is also perennially popular in the automotive industry because of easy resale or lease and because it shows the lines of the car off with highlight finishes.
It is interesting that Grey’s popularity has come at a time of great insecurity and economic upheaval; Grey is perhaps the most psychologically neutral shade of all, evoking little emotional response, providing a much needed rest from any form of emotional turmoil. Grey urges us to hibernate and escape from the world.
Much associated in fashion with Winter collections, Grey also has utilitarian, practical associations that make it chime well with today’s more austere, less throw-away culture. There is a strong urban feel to Grey, evoking expanses of concrete that make it feel slightly dystopian, again fitting in with the feeling of unease any recession generates.
Like black and camel, Grey is undeniably chic in a low key, controlled way. One of the least sexually attractive of all colours, it never-the-less exudes luxury when combined with a lavish material like cashmere and is increasingly moving out of the boardroom and into the home. Finally Grey works well when lifted by colourful accents, making it a force to be reckoned with for some time to come.