As a fashion and personal stylist and image consultant, playing with color is de rigueur. Color is so much a part of my existence I share a name with, perhaps, the Bible’s most colorful character. Is it any wonder that I am so drawn to color as a subject and as a muse? Whether you appreciate things as they exist in nature or manmade, if you dream or hallucinate, color exists absolutely everywhere. What we see with our eyes, feel in our minds, and a vibrational sense when sight deprived, color plays a major role in creating a unique personal style.
Pantone Color Institute’s Leatrice Eiseman
Recently, I attended an exciting color program on Bainbridge Island, in the Puget Sound, 25 minutes by ferry from Seattle. Six years prior, I attended my first such program. What made both of these experiences so special is that none other than Leatrice Eiseman provided top quality content about color. Lee is a dynamic self-made woman and is the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. More than making a living by studying the consumer effects of color in society, Lee tells society what we need. Because color exists absolutely everywhere, her role as a color trendcaster is not as simple as it sounds. But, she does lead a very fulfilling life.
I participated in this program to reinvigorate my color education and to meet fellow color enthusiasts. As a personal stylist and image consultant, color is always top of mind. You can see in many of my blog posts: Insights on Color. In the end, I certainly walked away knowing more than I did, and also collected some new colorful pals. In the process of studying and connecting, there were some wonderful experiences including playing with paints, and small group exercises.
A WOW Moment at the Workshop
A WOW moment happened at the three-day workshop. Leatrice put us into small groups for an exercise that greeted me with a significant challenge. She created a series of color stories that she currently uses to help companies develop and colorize new products. Then, she assigned each group a color story theme. Each team’s task was to create a presentation of a product line envisioned and inspired by the color story theme.
Color and Color Psychology’s Importance for a Unique Personal Style
The reason I found this particularly challenging is because the color came before the product. It almost never happens that way in the course of producing a collection. While talking this out with my empathetic teammates, Sandy and Lani, the wildest “Eureka” moment came! As they heard me talking through the challenge as I saw it, I began to draw upon my memory honed from my long career as a personal stylist and image consultant. Staring at our group’s color theme, I intermittently closed my eyes, trying to conjure up all of my intuitive power. And then it hit me. I grabbed the phone from my pocket, scrolling through the memory lane of photos until I hit pay dirt.
The color theme we worked with reminded me of an artist’s work I saw at the Guggenheim Museum. The exhibit showed an astonishing retrospective of the artist, Hilma af Klint. Sure enough, while showing Lani and Sandy photos of this earthshattering artwork, we looked at each other in that all-knowing way. Problem solving led to my own breakthrough and an inspiration for our group. I often get inspired by painters’ use of color, you can see more on my Instagram comparing artist’s colors and techniques to create a look for an indelible personal style.
What Does Hilma af Klint and a Goyard Bag Have in Common
We quickly devised a concept for a product line, and planned a presentation that we would deliver the next morning. Sandy, Lani and I sat at our table in the back of the room, feeling proud of our group effort. And then, another group participant, Jennifer, came to the table. She sat down next to me and began fishing around in her gorgeous golden yellow Goyard tote bag. She said, “I’m a little chilly. So, I’m looking for this amazing scarf I bought last time I visited the Guggenheim Museum in New York to see the Hilma af Klint exhibit.”
Jennifer was so matter of fact about this. And I nearly lost my sh*t. Excuse the expression. But there is no other way to put into words how out-of-body and otherworldly this moment was. Jennifer has a wonderful and unique personal style. It was almost spooky that she had this scarf in her bag! But, it was one of the most seriously cool experiences I’ve ever witnessed. We all felt very tapped in to a Source.
Color Exists Absolutely Everywhere
The Universe presented powerful proof that color exists absolutely everywhere. Because out from the golden yellow Goyard bag came this golden scarf of a design by Hilma af Klint. We – professionals and adults – were screaming, jumping up and down like five-year-olds, to the point of tears. And the next day, when we presented our plan to the entire group, we had cheers and applause.
Beyond all of the beauty – and dare I say ugliness – around us, color is a crucial component of it all. As color exists absolutely everywhere, I am most struck by how color exists in our minds. The story that you just read proves that we have this power to tap into our inner resources and remember color. Here, I am referring to how we see color and how our minds interpret what we see. But, there is also the way our memories develop and hold onto deeply held beliefs and meanings of color.
This was not a topic of conversation in our three-day program. But, it is my solitary study as a personal stylist and image consultant. And, it made the group exercise so incredibly powerful for me, the trio, and for our entire group.
Color, a Paint Store and Granville Island
Another exciting moment happened as a result of playing with paint during one of the exercises. Even though I have this limitless love of color, I found painting a frustrating experience. Trying to paint inside the lines and brush holding techniques were not part of the learning experience. Man, did it adversely affect my mood and attitude at the moment. But, I loved mixing colors and using water to dilute paints in order to come up with specific tones.
My friend Pelin, who traveled from Istanbul to attend, and I took some days in Vancouver afterward. On the last day of our trip, I took Pelin to see Granville Island. In the midst of enjoying our sensory overload, we happened upon a very special store, Kroma Artist’s Acrylics. I am telling you, we nearly lost our minds!
Pelin raises two talented, smart, and radiant daughters, just like their mom. Throughout our Vancouver vacay, we would pop into arts and craft stores looking for paints and supplies for them. Inadvertently, this kept the notion of painting front and center in mind. So, by the time we got to Kroma, my inhibitions kind of snapped. I vowed: it is time to paint and find new ways to express my own unique personal style.
Personal Style and a Paint Shop
You might say that as color exists absolutely everywhere, its potency is highest inside a freaking paint shop! I hit the motherlode, won the color Lotto, and nearly had a meltdown in this place. As Pelin picked up some additional tubes of paint for her youngest, I bought an entire kit of paints.
When I settle into my new home in Brooklyn, I will roll out some special cotton paper on the back terrace, and paint without judgment. All I want to do is paint something abstract and play with paints and colors.
Color and color psychology are vitally important to creating an indelible personal style. You can read more about this on my website how I create a unique creative personal style for my clients.
More Insights On Color
I think we take color for granted because of its omnipresence. And yet, color is an amazing technology that plays a vital role in how people see, know, and remember us. Gain added insight on how color affects us.
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