Color to fight January grays

Holi festival people covered in pigment
Holi festival in India. Photo by Poras Chaudhary for Smithsonian.


Here in NYC it’s dreary, dark and gray. I thought talking about color would be a good way to prepare for Spring 2019.

I’ve written a lot about color lately, especially the symbolism of colors in clothing. In the graphic design and garment manufacturing worlds, colors have to come from somewhere. The FIT Library subscribes to multiple color services to make these colors accessible to our students.

One of the new services was begun by WGSN, a major fashion news and forecasting site in London. (Note that you must be a student or teacher at FIT to see the site.) Coloro, like Munsell, is designed after a 3-d model of how color, shade, and tint work. Coloro describes their system, based on intensity of chroma, lightness of tint and darkness of shade, in depth here: Coloro: our system

3d graphic of color, shade and tint


Announcement of new color service Coloro

The set of books that comprise Coloro is enormous, and they attempt to offer the largest color and shade range of any color standards service in business, based on the science of color. Here are the books in the FIT Library, on the 4th floor in PERS:

Several of the Coloro color service binders


FIT students, faculty, and staff can use these by coming to the 4th floor Periodicals and Electronic Serials desk and presenting their current FIT ID.

Coloro book of purples arranged by hue, tint, and shade.
Coloro book of purples arranged by hue, tint, and shade.


What’s cooler, though, is that they have some color tools on their website that are free to play with. Here you can have some fun with these yourself: Coloro: Color Workspace


Sophicolor books in Periodicals dept. shelves



Our other new service is very different in conception and in character. It’s specifically aimed at the fashion design industry. The ranges of color are hand dyed, varied and themed. One book has a botanicals theme, the next a celestial brights theme.

Sophicolor product line






Sophicolor page of yellows and oranges


What’s especially gorgeous at Sophicolor are their site visuals. In particular, I encourage you to follow their Instagram page, which you can link to from their site:

Sophicolor home site





We hope that January weather doesn’t get you down!






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The Golden and colorful Globes

Lady Gaga in lavender gown at Golden Globes red carpe
Photo by Steve Granitz for Getty Images

It’s award season! At FIT, where it’s all design, all the time, this season begins with the end of Christmas and ends with FIT’s Future of Fashion shows in April. In the meantime, we are curious to see how the bruised entertainment industry polices itself. And we want to sit back and watch pretty, talented people wear pretty clothes made by talented people.



Jameela Jumil in coral organza gown at Golden Globe red carpet
Photo by David Fisher of Rex/Shuttertock


The entertainment industry spent much of last year processing the new boundaries of the #Metoo movement. Many of these were expressed by dress at awards shows. Last year’s Golden Globe awards featured many women elegantly attired in all black. This year, color has rebounded and Pantone won. Jamilla Jamil wore exactly Pantone’s 2019 Color: Living Coral.

Lady Gaga, not to be outdone, coordinated her perfect midtone periwinkle with her hair.







While the black of last year’s Golden Globes was seen on a few actresses, in general the blues won the day this year. Gaga’s periwinkle was possibly the most dramatic in silhouette, but the color that won was a deeper, Prussian blue.

Amy Adams in Prussian blue on Golden Globes red carpet
Photo by Matt Baron for BEI/REX/Shutterstock




It was in classic Calvin Klein simplicity by Amy Adams.







Gemma Chan in blue gown on Golden Globes red carpet
Photo by Daniele Venturelli for WireImage





Gemma Chan more a dramatically draped version by Valentino. Like Gaga’s gown, this is lusciously draped in heavy silk faille. The shorts update the look.






Camilla Belle in blue/green brocade on Golden Globes red carpet





One of the most interesting gowns in this color range was this brocaded blue and green gown by Jason Wu, worn by Camilla Belle.








Probably the most playful blue tones were worn by Lupita Nyong’o and set off by the rich flame gown of her friend, Danai Gurira, in this playful Instagram vid. Enjoy!


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Modernity, marriage, and mags, p. 1

bride and groom (models) standing in field of tall flowers
Ad from Brides Magazine, Nov/Dec 2018

Happy New Year! Human beings have celebrated marriage in formal ceremonies for all of recorded history. From the rise of magazine culture in the 19th century, weddings have been celebrated and sold in this format aimed predominantly at women. Magazine coverage of wedding ceremonies, receptions, gowns and social expectations provides a window into changing cultural expectations of brides and grooms, gowns and gifts. FIT Library’s periodicals give a colorful view of changing bridal fashions.



From gigantic puffed sleeves of the 1890’s, to sleek and elegant satin of the 1930’s, and don’t forget the lace embroidered mock turtlenecks in the 1970’s, wedding gowns have transformed throughout the decades. While looking through bridal magazines the changing silhouettes were readily apparent; what’s more fascinating was how these publications reached brides through advertisements and articles.





Cover of Brides Magazine September 1976 issue


The magazines made (and make) one day, one dress, one hairstyle or makeup product, one ring, one vacation, one china set impact the entirety someone’s life. The countless options presented reflected the culture, social stratum, media, and of course fashion of the time period. How the magazine culture presented brides and weddings took many turns, while other elements remained the same.

This article takes a quick look at the history of American wedding gowns as illustrated by magazines in our Periodicals and Electronic Serials collection, on the 4th floor of the FIT Library. (We hope you will come take a look yourself!)



Multiple gowns from an ad in Brides magazine Nov/Dec 2018 issue



Because magazines depend upon photos, it’s easy to see the popular styles of the past. Nineteenth and early twentieth century magazines had fewer images, often depending upon engravings for their image punch.* As photography has gotten cheaper, magazine pages have been more punctuated with photographs. This allows a greater variety of gown styles to be advertised, illustrating more fashionable details within the same trends. This advertisement is from Brides Magazine, November December 2018.




Bridal couple from early 1890s in Vintage Fashions magazine in the 1990s



Images of 19th century brides show fashionable gowns of many cloths and colors. Victorian brides often wore their “best dress” to be married in, not the single-purpose white gown so popular today. 1990s issues of Vintage Fashions highlighted 1890s wedding styles: gigantic puffed sleeves were fashionable to contrast and emphasize the bride’s waistline. Soft laces and silks were favored and paired with a tulle veil. Throughout the 1890s and into the early 1900s, the sleeve proportion became simpler and the skirt fit closer to the hips.




White gowns became fashionable in the late 19th century. This trend was probably the result of popular engravings featuring European princesses (beginning with Queen Victoria herself) in white wedding gowns festooned with orange blossoms. Celebrations of European royal weddings were popular in early magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Godey’s Lady’s Book. England’s Queen Victoria had many children who intermarried all over the continent, providing media reinforcement for this growing custom. The white gowns’ formality, innocence, and distinctiveness caught on and now is the symbol for weddings in western cultures.

Engraving of wedding of Prince Albert of England and Princess Alexandra of Denmark's wedding in March 1863
Edward, Prince or Wales (later King Edward VII) marries Princess Alexandra of Denmark at St George’s Chapel Windsor, March 1863. Engraving after a painting by William Powell Frith.




The style vastly changed by the 1930’s. Looking at the November 1933 Vogue, a Saks-Fifth Avenue ad showed a bride with a high neck sleeveless satin gown (bias cut?) accompanied by a long sleeved coat and a train tied snugly to the waist. The tulle veil fell perfectly to the silhouette of the gown, creating an elegant look. This sleek and modern look contrasted greatly with the more detailed extravagance of the Victorian age gowns of the 1870s-1900s.




Full length image of woman in white strapless fitted gown with flare from knees to floor.




This elegant silhouette has evolved throughout the years to become the timeless wedding gowns of 2018, as seen in the title image. The long lines reflect the glamour yet simplicity of the 1930s bride above. This image is from Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2000.





Elegant bride from August 1976



The elegant trends of the 30’s shifted to the bohemian styles of the 70’s. As seen in the August 1976 edition of Brides Magazine, the trendiest wedding gowns had a lace mock turtleneck leading to long flared sleeves and a loose fitting satin skirt. The lace embroidery matched the bottom of the gown as well as the veil. The bohemian lace and embroidery has carried on today with many gowns, such as the cover gown above, giving a vintage look. This gown carried some elements seen in Victorian fashion, such as the lace and sleeves, and also incorporates the satin skirt from the 1930s bride.


Bride and groom layout from August September 2016




The 1970s bridal gown referenced the high waisted gowns of the 1810s, the lace romanticism of the 1890s, and the modern simplicity of the 1930s, as seen in this couple from Brides August September 1976 issue. Menswear also got some updating, and colored tuxedos were briefly fashionable.







Throughout the 2000s, simplicity and minimalism were favored as shown in this advertisement in Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2000. The sleeves are gone, and beautiful satin ball gowns or mermaid styles with delicate embellishments were popular. By contrast, today there is rarely a plain and simple gown in the magazine. Now wedding gowns are seen as personable and unique, and you see more of an influence from red carpet fashion silhouettes dictating the trends.


Image of bride and groom walking



Recently, a variety of styles has become popular rather than the dominant silhouette seen in earlier magazines. Popular styles of today shown in the November December issue of Brides, at right and below, include ball gowns and mermaid gowns, strapless and sweetheart necklines, an embroidered bodice with sequins, lace, or beading, and satin or chiffon skirts. Global sourcing makes detailed embellishment available at all gown price points. Historical references are remixed for new tastes. Designers offer eclectic and extravagant styles to appeal to brides wanting to be a princess on their wedding day.



All in all, these publications highlighted the iconic fashions of their decades. The evolution from Victorian influence to the modern gowns of today, where anything goes! Today we see hints of influence from every decade, all beginning with the white gown. The wedding gown is an iconic symbol that has transformed through the styles of women’s fashion, but not just the wedding gown styles were apparent in the magazines. In the next article, we will dive into the culture of weddings and consumers perceived these publications. Till then, many happy beginnings to you in 2019!


Family bridal photos from Town and Country Weddings Fall 2005 issue
Wedding photos from Fall 2005 issue of Town & Country Weddings

* Our recent post about Godey’s Lady’s Book gives a lot of background about the evolution of fashion plates.

This post was a project by our student aide, Allison Felts, working with Beth McMahon, your regular correspondent. Look for more of Allison’s work with Beth in 2019!

Beth McMahon
Allison Felts
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