Black Is The New Black
As a born, raised, and educated New Yorker, I’ve always had a thing for black. Spend some time walking the streets and avenues of the Big Apple and you come to realize that, especially for the natives of that grimy jumble of noise and color, black just makes sense. From Uptown beboppers to Village beatniks to Lower East Side punk rockers, black has always been the color of the street, the shade of the subterranean creative class.
In her recent New York Magazine article on the subject, writer Amy Larocca reminds us that, historically, due to the high cost of the dye, black was worn exclusively by the upper crust and royalty, and that aura of power is still associated with the darker shades. And like a true New Yorker, Larocca has strong opinions on her city’s ebony-centric style sense.
“We wear black because it confers a no-nonsense power,” she says. “We wear black because we’re not here to see a show; because we are, in a sense, with the band. The band is New York, and the color is black.”
Point taken. And everyone who’s ever watched the classic “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” knows the traffic-stopping power of Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress. In fact, from the black-hatted undertaker to the black-belted karate master to the black sheep of the family, the cultural references are endless.
While it’s usually defined as the complete absence of color, for a designer like me, the white of the blank page most often serves that role, and black becomes a powerful and inspiring graphic element. There are times when, for sheer elegance and simplicity, only black will do.
Of course, I do love working with a wide-and-varied color palette, and for some wonderfully successful projects, occasions, and fashion statements, the brighter hues are just the thing. But some habits are hard to break. If you’re looking for me out and about around town, I’m easy to find. I’ll be the cool one over in the corner, dressed from head to toe in basic black.