Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Color of the month - RED

Even though it's January, I'm still feeling a little Christmas-y. So thought I would select red as my color of the month. My plan is to choose a different color each month and showcase a few vintage and/or antique items. I know a few other bloggers out there have done the same thing and I've really enjoyed their posts. The Diary of a Mantua Maker has great blog about red clothing here. She has covered other colors as well.

Red is striking, bold. And accessories like a belt, shoes, or a hat in this color can certainly make a statement in any wardrobe. There is a lot of symbolism associated with the color red; most notably as a symbol of power or love. In Greek mythology a red rose was the symbol for the cycle of growth and decay, but also for love and affinity. King Louis XIV wore shoes with red heels as a sign of his power. This of course set a fashion trend for red heels. A trend that continues today with the feud between Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Louboutin. Here is an interesting article about the history of red textiles.

20th Regiment of Foot, 1745
Red dyes made from madder root and cochineal, a type of Mexican beetle, were used for British military uniforms as early as the 1600s. The red uniform was officially adopted in 1645 with the passage of the New Model Army ordinance. The term "redcoat" is and was, associated with British soldiers who fought in the American colonies during the American Revolution. While the British Army today no longer wears red coat for normal duty, it is still worn for ceremonial purposes by some regiments. The Coldstream Guards at the Tower of London for example wear the scarlet coat. As an 18th century re-enactor, I'm particularly fond of the British red.

In terms of modern fashion, red can be a summer color as well as for winter as seen in these two examples from the MET.
Coat from the MET - Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)Date: winter 1935–36

MET Beachwear Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958)Date: ca. 1957

In the form of accessories, red is worn for both day and evening wear.
MET evening coat, 1927

MET, 1940

And who could resist this pair of vintage 1940s red alligator platform shoes on Ruby Lane!! And speaking of ruby, let's not forget the most iconic pair of red shoes out there in the fashion world - the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 movie, Wizard of OZ. I want a pair for myself!!

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