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Colours in Fashion: vi. Orange

  • As a secondary colour, orange is a mixture of two primary colours, red and yellow. It opposes the third primary colour, blue, on the colour wheel.

  • Warm, playful, creative like yellow, yet hotter and more intense, like red, orange is a stimulating, enthusiastic and expressive colour reminiscent of citrus fruit and warmer climates. More muted versions of orange are associated with pumpkins, saffron, amber, ginger and the setting sun.

  • Originating from the ancient Indian Vedic texts, the chakras are used today in Vedic practices, such as yoga. Orange symbolizes the sacral chakra ‘Svadhishthan.’ Located at the pelvis, the orange chakra visually represents our energy, creativity, warmth and sexuality and is related to pregnancy.

Woman wearing Orange Make Up
  • Orange is not widely used in fashion, as it is so vibrant. It is also associated with lifejackets, safety vests, traffic signage, warning symbols and US prison jumpsuits, as it attracts attention and signifies danger.

  • Saffron, a yellow-orange, the most expensive spice in the world, was used for dyeing Buddhist robes their symbolic colour, though jackfruit and turmeric were more commonly used, due to price. As a result, orange is associated with monks and holy men in some parts of Asia and is a symbol of perfection and a quest for knowledge in Buddhism.

  • The Royal House of Orange - the Dutch Royal Family, descendants of William I - wore their trademark burnt amber shade in their portraits.

  • Amber, made of fossilised tree resin and found plentifully around the Baltic Sea, where vast forests of conifers once grew, is an organic gemstone and is valuable in jewellery and decoration. Amber ranges from pale honey to deeper shades of red and black.

  • Bright orange was used in the Mod clothing of the 1960s by designers such as Courreges and Emilio Pucci, who were known for their futuristic and youth-oriented clothing. Orange can be flamboyant, youthful and fun.

  • A more muted, darker orange, rust, was popular in early 1970s fashion, a decade where warm, earthy colours and earthy, natural styles predominated in fashion and interior design.


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