Colour Me Beautiful….or Colour with no “u” depending where you live?
I remember it fairly well….it’s about 1982, and my mom was invited to her cousin’s house for a ‘party’ to get her colours done. Whatever that meant! I was an only child so of course I went along. Her cousin was stylish and single and always up on the latest trends, so even though I was a little kid, I tagged along to see what this was about.
The sharpest memory I have from the evening was women gathering around a table and getting draped in one of two fabrics: either Fuchsia or Orange, and this was meant to either decide if you were ‘warm‘ or ‘cool‘. I remember some very obvious red-headed woman being draped in the Orange fabric and everyone ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the big discovery. This Autumn palette really did look great on her – and everyone was bewildered about how this was such a new discovery.
This image is taken from the original Color Me Beautiful book by Carole Jackson, and this is what popularized these ‘home-parties’ in the ’80’s. The book was originally published in 1980, and it became a pop-culture phenomenon of the time, I remember later my aunt having a party too. Many related sequels came after it….including Jackson’s own Color Me Beautful Makeup Book, and Color for Men.
Carole Jackson was the first of the “color analysis authors” to create a retail success story based on her highly successful books, selling swatch packets (a wallet designed to house fabric swatches by season) for use as a shopping companion, a successful line of cosmetics and seasonal color swatches Color Me Beautiful, and a direct selling company Color Me Direct featuring Color Analysis as its key home selling strategy. Most recently Color Me Beautiful has acquired the Color Alliance system which employs the use of color coordinates, designed to match eye color, skin tone and hair color; and through the use of computer modeling creates a unique color palette for each user.
This was really one of my earliest memories of two important things that have actually shaped my adult career…
Witnessing the power of colour and the power of the home party.
Here is what my very early memory taught me…
The women at this party:
- Loved the one-on-one attention
- Were amazed and awed once they discovered the power of colour and
- They were totally open to being inspired in a fun and casual atmosphere.
While I 100% feel that there is validity in Carole Jackson’s Colour Theories – sidenote: her only formal training in color analysis was a one-month course at the Fashion Academy in Costa Mesa, Calif., plus a stint learning color separation with a Washington, D.C. printing firm – I think the ‘rules’ are meant to be broken and not every rule fits in every situation.
However, I often have harkened back to being a Winter when shopping for myself, and definitely see that Isabella, my fairer daughter, would be more Spring, while Chloe who is darker-skinned, a Summer.
While Carole Jackson really didn’t come up with this colour theory, she popularized the one created some 100 years ago by artist Johannes Itten of Germany’s legendary Bauhaus school. Back in my Benjamin Moore days, we had a colour system that was introduced in about year 2000, and each chip had been labeled with either a snowflake or a sun, which was supposed to give you and indication of whether this colour was warm or cool.
INNER CIRCLE MOMENT: Truth be told many of these were labelled incorrectly – like almost ALL of them – because an intern summer student did them and somehow, no one checked her work.
True Story! So if you are shopping old Benjamin Moore paint chips, ignore the SUN or SNOWFLAKE! #truestory
Back to Carole Jackson: In 1981 her book sold more than 300,000 copies – and if you google Color Me Beautiful, there is still a hokey website of colourists still around today, and the makeup line can still be purchased. I guess that speaks to the power of the phenomenon.
There is a reason why this theory and a derivative of it is still kicking around today….after all, it shaped my initial view of colour, home parties and fashion….and I still keep it in the back of my mind when shopping for myself AND applying makeup today.
What Colour Season are you?
And here is old image of me, back from the days of my colour specialist job, in an interview from BC Business magazine.