While the North American retail world has become obsessed with “Black Friday” the term sparked an idea about the meanings and symbolism of colour in the fashion world. From a retailing perspective the term Black Friday was coined to describe the potential influx in store sales in this last quarter of the year pushing achieved sales, and therefore profits into the “black” or plus sides of the accounting ledger.
Basic Black and the LBD are fashion terms which denote classic styles that can be dressed up or dressed down and move from social circle to social situation. Black is also seen as a colour of power in fashion. The black, pin-striped suit represents the most powerful of Wall Street and is frequently used in costuming to identify those with not only financial acumen but those with power.
Black is a colour that we associate with danger – it is the colour of the night and all those scary inhabitants of the mysterious netherworld. It is the colour of witches, demons, vampires – those beings who are most powerful in the dark.
Consider all the black worn by both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in films like The Matrix:
And, this association of power and danger has been adopted by those who wish to be seen as dangerous. Not too many motorcycle clubs choose pink as the colour for their club logos or “leathers.”
So, black also becomes the colour of those who walk the edge of danger, the sophisticated and rebellious. When Chanel makes the Little Black Dress the popular colour for her era she is not only reflecting the popularity of the Art Deco movement but it is the opposite of all those ethereal Edwardian ladies who wore white and pastel shades. While it might also have reminded her of the austerity of dress worn by the nuns in the orphanage where she lived for part of her youth it also becomes part of the Lean Chic and Deluxe Poor Look she favored. The box her Art Deco bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold in is outlined in this sleek and elegant line of black.
Interesting that when describing the little black dress the terms sophisticated, elegant and classic are synonymous. A red dress, on the other hand is sexy and seductive. The power of colour is one that we respond to consciously as well as sub-consciously and cannot be underestimated.
Of all the colours of all the items we have in our Fashion Resource Centre black would be the most prevalent. Whether the colour is found in a gentleman’s tuxedo and top hat, in a pair of black stiletto pumps, in the satin and beading of a chic cocktail dress or the feathered drama of an evening gown we do own a lot of black. And, it does make sense since we do consider black to be a good investment in clothing. As basic black it matches with many things and we do believe that a black suit or dress will strike just the right tone no matter the social occasion.
So, while you may be looking for bargains on Black Friday, I will be considering a display featuring some of our Black Fashions.