All I need is yellow. A brief history of my favourite.

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My passion for the colour goes way back to memories of kindergarten. I had this incredible dress; black with big and bright sunflowers. I remember it vividly as if it was yesterday. And by today, it still remains my favourite of all. Why? I can't explain it. But I've now learned a lot and will share some insights.

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Yellow. A primary colour of the colour spectrum. Used to convey so many contradicting messages within fashion history, yet still being part of it every damn collection. A colour that has never left and will never leave my closet. It touches me somehow.

From bees to busses.

As Vogue describes brilliantly:

"The history of yellow is controversial. Hated, loved, mistreated, it was among the colors of the latest fashion shows. The color yellow is, in nature, a sign of danger. Something humans have copied, due to its luminosity and to the fact that it’s immediately recognizable, so much that school buses, taxies and stop lights are yellow. It's a primary color and so it's the base of endless shades of colors, yellow was a shade loved also by Impressionists such as Matisse and Gauguin, from the Fauves to the representatives of Abstract art like Mirò. If the first artists mixed and developed it in tens of different shades, the latter paint yellow as a main color, full and pure."

How to wear it?

Yellow means warmth and energy to me. I associate the brighter spectrum with dazzling power, that can compete with any other color to make the outfit be filled with energy.

And the range of tones is endless: neon, sherbet, canary, sunflower, ocher, lemon, pastel, cream, pale, saffron, gold, mustard, flash tone or spicy and soft, pumpkin, taxi yellow or sun-color. But when wearing it, among these it is important to find the color that fits best with your skin tone but also your personality.

It works with denim blue, sweet pastel pink or emerald green satin. To wear it more subtile, pair it with black and white.

And psychology agrees with what my body feels when being dressed in yellow: in color-therapy yellow indicates a sunny disposition and a desire for change. A splash of optimism and a whip of energy.

We know the color today to be a cheerful and vibrant choice in fashion. However, yellow is also the preferred color choice worn for public service uniforms for decades. Back again to the taxis and busses. Human interpretation still narrates along giving attention. 

 

 
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I feel the power on my skin

 
 
 
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yellow in art

 

First during medieval times yellow was replacing gold when it was too expensive for the project, like for example usage for the background in frescoes, large surfaces. Sometimes gold was used on frescoes also, it depended on how much a community could spend. Yellow was a much cheaper alternative and still represented the divine light.

During the Victorian decades, yellow was believed to be the color most similar to light, representing sun light. With shades ranging from the palest butter to the liveliest lemon, it was suitable for morning dresses, day dresses, evening gowns, and seaside wear. Fashion magazines and color experts of the day recommended restricting clear, bright yellows to spring and summer. However, shades of yellow could be seen in fashionable dresses throughout the year, often in the form of gloves, a fancy fan or a stylish hat.

Yellow was particularly valued in the 20th century because of its high visibility, which remains up to the 21st century. The taxis and busses again...

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In the west, yellow is not a well-loved color though. In a 2000 survey, only 6% of respondents in Europe and America named it as their favorite color. Compared with 45 % for blue, 15 % for green, 12 % for red, and finally the 10 % of Scandinavians voting for black. For 7 % of respondents, it was their least favorite color. No idea how that had happened.

Yellow is the color most associated with optimism and pleasure; it is a color designed to attract attention, and is used for amusement. Yellow dresses in fashion are rare, but always associated with gaiety and celebration.

And to me, it's part of my visual identity. It's what I wear when it's not black. It's what I pick when I have to choose amongst all those colours. It gives me warmths and screams power. Yellow gives me my superpower.


This article is a synthesis of sources, such as the Italian Vogue, Glamour,  Wikipedia and this artists blog