… is the new black

A play on the commonly used fashion phrase … is the new black this fashion piece about the colour “greige” followed on in colour trend terms from the article about Michelle Obama’s nude dress. So not only was the colour of the dress a political correctness minefield, in the fickle world of fashion, little more than weeks later it had been cast aside to make way for a new, and even more ambiguous kid on the block: greige.

In my ignorance I didn’t actually believe “greige” was a real name for a colour. I initially thought it was one of those made-up fashion words, lazily created by putting half of two very different words (and often concepts) together like “coatigan” (a cardigan thick enough to wear as a coat), “jeggings” (leggings made to look like denim), the even more painful “meggings” (leggings for men) and the unimaginative shoeboot (is it a shoe, is it a boot? Who knows). So I reasoned the word greige was the unfortunate product of the marriage of those other two fashionable neutrals: grey and beige.

However I was infact mistaken, the word griege comes from the French, meaning raw and is used to describe the colour of unbleached, undyed yarn or cloth.

In the instances described in the article, the word was used to describe a shade that was indeed a greyish beige, but in some cases was verging on mushroom. It was described as a way of looking ‘more expensive than it is, without tipping into the realms of “flashy”‘. It is often noted that in times of economic hardship and recession, colour trends become more muted, so as the effects of the economic crisis continue to be felt, just as the era of the Great Depression became known as the taupe age, might the early part of this decade become the greige age?


About eleanorbydesign

Graduate of MA Graphic Design at London College of Communication

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