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Colours in Fashion: iv. Yellow

  • Yellow brings the sun: warmth, light and radiance. It is associated with joy, optimism, creativity, children and warm, sunny weather.

  • Yellow is one of the three primary colours and opposes purple on the colour wheel - the meeting point of the other two primary colours, blue and red.

  • Originating from the ancient Indian Vedic texts, the chakras are used today in Vedic practices, such as yoga. Yellow symbolises the solar plexus chakra ‘Manipura.’ Located right in the centre of the body, the yellow chakra visually represents our ‘guts’ to take action and visually represents our will, drive, strength, desire and optimism.

Woman in Yellow Dress

  • Yellow fabric was used in the Romantic period of the late eighteenth Century to create sunny, pastel dresses and into Victorian times to create sumptuous and elegant gowns.

  • To evoke the sultry Art Deco glamour of the 1920s, a dark golden yellow was often paired with black and used in sun-ray and geometric motifs or as part of a bold, streamlined print.

  • The 1950s classic, elegant style used fresh, pastel yellows, such as Grace Kelly's one-piece swimsuit in 'To Catch a Thief' (1955). The early-1960's mid-century Modern look continued to use pastels, as exemplified by Jackie Kennedy, famously photographed for 'Life' magazine in a yellow, gingham Lily Pulitzer dress (1960). By the mid-1960s, the Mod look used a brighter and bolder yellow, in keeping with the brighter colours of the 'Youthquake'.

  • In 1995's 'Clueless', the rich, young Californian Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone) famously wore a yellow checked mini-skirted suit - a young and upmarket take on mid-1990s fashion.

  • Attention-grabbing, yet anti-fashion, designer Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019) posed in neon yellow - a 'Jolie-Jaune' to promote safety on the French roads, but he did call the life-saving garment ugly - 'moche' !


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