What we wear is more than a simple piece of fabric sewed together to hide modesty and provide protection from the cold; it is a symbol of our identity and culture. It’s no wonder, however, that societies have used clothes to express status, commemorate significant events, and demonstrate solidarity, among other things, for ages.
The Munsell system is recognized for colour measurement and is used by both the US National Bureau of Standards and the UK Standards Institute. In 1903, the artist Albert Munsell invented a colour identification system based on the reaction of the human eye to this stimulus. By 1905, the system became known worldwide as the language of colours, and three particularities of colour were identified: hue, tone value, and colour intensity.
I will only stop over the tone value on this occasion. The tone value is a way of colour measuring how light or dark the colour is. Munsell used a measurement system from 0 to 10 in which 0 corresponds to black and 10 to white, with all shades of grey in between. This dilution of colours from dark to light can also be used to measure the intensity of grey gradients; for example, in cosmetics, these numbers represent the intensity of the colour of a hair dye.
Black confers authority and is widely worn as business attire. It is very easy and safe to wear black from head to toe, but it gives the feeling that you lack imagination. According to psychological studies, the colour black is seen by others to be a sign of status, authority, seriousness, and intellect. It can also be understood that you are hiding behind the colour.
Black is both the colour of fashion and mourning and has symbolized anything over time; from fertility to erudition and piety.
Everything around black is complicated.
In 1946, Galerie Maeght, the centre of the Parisian avant-garde, organized an exhibition entitled “Black is a colour.” These statements were intended to be shocking, they were the opposite of what is taught in art schools.
Black does not reflect light; black attracts light. Vantablack, a carbon nanotube-based technology designed in the UK in 2014, captures 99.965% of the spectrum, making it the blackest object in the world. It is so dark that it misleads both the eyes and the brain, and people are no longer able to perceive depth and texture.
In art, the outline or contour (usually black) was invented more than 30 years ago. The black line has always been a fundamental element of art.
Da Vinci used fine sticks made of charcoal powder to make the sketch in the style sfumato (Italian fumo), the smoke of what would become a mysterious and expressive painting, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (1503–1519), now the Louvre.
Around the same time, black reached its peak as the colour of fashion. Baldassare Castiglione wrote in Il Cortegiano, The Book of the Courtier, that “black is the more pleasing in clothing than any other colour,” and the Western world agreed. There were three reasons why it became the ultimate colour of fashion.
The first is of a practical nature; around 1360, new methods of dyeing fabrics black were discovered, which gave them a luxurious look. A second reason was the psychological shock of the Black Death (which was a bubonic plague pandemic), which decimated the population of Europe and induced the aspiration for austerity, penance, and common mourning. Philip the Good (1396–1467) was famous for almost always wearing black clothes, preferred by him in memory of his father, John the Fearless, assassinated in 1419. The third reason was the wave of laws seeking to position social status by clothing; the rich merchants were forbidden to wear the colours reserved for the rich with noble roots, for example, scarlet. Instead, they could wear black.
The inventories of goods show that, around 1700, 33% of the clothes of the nobles and 44% of those of the officers were black. The colour was also widespread among the servants, representing 29% of their wardrobe.
Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square is considered the first truly abstract work. It was, for the first time, art for art’s sake, and a revolutionary idea needed a revolutionary colour: black.
The Black Church is in Brasov, Romania and has nothing to do with the Dracula myth.
As per the initial plan, the church was supposed to have two towers. Due to a lack of funds, the second tower was never built, and the first and only tower was completed 37 years later than the rest of the building, in 1514.
One of Europe’s and Romania’s largest bells, weighing 6,300 kg, is housed in the church’s tower.
St. Mary’s Church was the original name of the church, which is now known as the Black Church. The term “Black Church” comes from a fire that occurred in 1689.
The church was largely destroyed as a result of the fire. It took nearly a century (100 years) to rebuild. During this time, the roof was enlarged and the interior was renovated, losing its Gothic influences and gaining a Baroque influence.
The Buchholtz mechanical organ in the Black Church is the largest, most unique, and most functional organ in South-eastern Europe. The organ has 3993 tubes and 76 registers.
Also within the Black Church is the most important collection of oriental rugs in Southeast Europe.
The Black Church in Brasov is the largest Gothic-style place of worship in southeastern Europe. It has a capacity of 5,000 people, is 90 meters long and 37 meters high, and the tower of the cross is 65 meters.
Black has always been and appears to be, the most seductive lingerie choice a female can wear. With so many designs to select from, and patterns, black is not only a secure bet but it’s also considered a classic one. In contrast to bright colours and designs, a classic black lingerie set will never go out of style.
There’s something dangerous and glamorous about a woman in black lingerie, but it’s difficult to decode the mystery of what it is that makes it so enticing.
Having a glance at the past, mourning the deceased became an important social rite during the Victorian era, a time of romanticism and emotion. If the husband dies, a woman may be required to wear black clothes, accessories, and, of course, undergarments for up to 2.5 years. Because of reduced life spans, a woman may remain in mourning and so wear black clothing for years.
The “widow’s weeds,” like all things Victorian, had a bit of a contradiction. After her husband’s death, a woman was supposed to live a hidebound, celibate life. However, a widow could move much more freely in society than an unmarried woman could.
While respecting the mourning rite by wearing black, some widows dressed in expensive modern clothes and trimmings. It’s pretty perverse to imagine these women revelling in seductive silks and laces during a time when people should be grieving the loss. Hence, black clothing, and hence the black corsets and undergarments worn with them, became fetish items associated with sexual temptation, deviation, and death.
The dark appeal of black underwear was heightened by the on-screen actresses of the early twentieth century. The “vamps” of the twenties and thirties, as well as the femme fatale of film noir from the forties, were sexual vampires who preyed on men’s weaknesses. These terrifying sirens were frequently clad in all black; recall Ava Gardner “setting the world on fire” in 1946 in The Killers.
It’s no wonder that black underwear played an important role in their charm; their dark knickers served as a visual reminder of the root of their authority and sexual power. The poor chaps were never going to stand a chance.
When purchasing a new lingerie set, it is critical to select something that you not only enjoy the look of, but also a style in which you feel confident. Black is a very appealing colour that will look great on people of all sizes and types.
Black lingerie has long been a fashion standard in every woman’s collection. It may be worn beneath a basic black dress or, alternatively, under a sheer white shirt. Black is far from dull, and there are a plethora of options.
When it comes to fabric, lace and satin are two of the most popular options. They look to be classy, seductive, and sophisticated.
Getting the appropriate size is critical since it can either boost or ruin an outfit. The majority of department stores will provide consumers with a free measuring service. If you plan to buy online, the size chart is very handy.
Depending on the context, black is not only sexy, morbid or stiff; it is also the colour of unconventionality, of rebellion. I won’t go into Rock, Punk, Grunge, Emo, or any other style symbol of “partizans”-and not in a bad way; I will, however, dig into the “black world” of “white weddings”.
Not every woman fantasizes about wearing a white princess bride dress. The decision to choose a black wedding gown is entirely personal. You must feel at ease and confident enough to wear such a gown despite the arguments of friends and relatives. Designers and couture collections go beyond the iconic pure white gowns.
Brides did not traditionally wear white bridal gowns. Originally, brides in Europe wore the colour of their choice. The white wedding gown tradition originated in 1840 when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in a white gown. However, certain cultures have a custom of wearing black wedding gowns. A bride’s loyalty to her husband until death parted them was signified by a black bridal gown and mantilla in Spain. Black and red were also symbols of the Zhou Dynasty (1045-221 BC), and brides and grooms wore black wedding robes with red trim.
Celebrities like Avril Lavigne, Grey’s Anatomy protagonist Ellen Pompeo, the iconic Tina Turner, and Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, to name just a few, were bold enough to dismiss the Cinderella myth in favour of an exceptional black bridal gown. You can see them here.
Paradox: Regardless of the significance of virginity, the white wedding gown became a standard during a period when virginity was “set to be eliminated.”
The idea of today’s article and the outfit itself started with the flower-printed knitted sweater. And just like that, I also started to knit the story around it.
An interesting fact that fashion history reveals is the trompe l’oeil sweater. It came when Elsa Schiaparelli was intrigued by a friend’s hand-knitted sweater. The designer discovered that its more compact texture was the result of a stretch-resistant, three-spindle technique that produces a “Tweet” effect. The technique was the work of two Armenian immigrants who produced a range of knitwear for the wholesale trade in France. Although Schiaparelli did not know how to knit, she drew a rough sketch for the two Armenians of a sweater with a large butterfly bow at the neckline, adding a matching trompe l’oeil collar and turning cuffs to form the square shape of the sweater. The Vogue magazine editor at the time named the sweater “an artwork.”
The term trompe l’oeil literally means “optical illusion” and was coined in the Baroque period to describe illusions of perspective in painting, such as the vaulted ceiling made by Andrea Prozza in 1703 in the Jesuit church in Vienna.
Carrying on with the black anthropology and its derivates, we get to the hackney (black cab), which is considered to be of a higher or more costly class and is referred to as a remise.
With ambiguous origins, the term hackney is sometimes associated with the ancient English ‘Haken’s Island’, an anarchy region near the River Lea. It is also thought that the name is derived from the French term “Hacquenee,” which comes from the Latin word for horse and was fully integrated into the English language by the beginning of the 14th century. These are only a handful of plausible sources.
An interesting truth is that there has never been a regulation mandating London cabs to be black; they have been offered in a standard black colour since the end of World War II. This gave rise to the moniker ‘black cab” inside the minicab trade in the 1970s. However, before WWII, London’s taxis were seen in a range of colours. They come in a range of colours and are frequently emblazoned with advertising brand emblems. For the Queen’s Golden Jubilee festivities in 2002, fifty golden taxis were manufactured.
On October 15, 2015, Londoners voted for the black taxi of being their favourite transit design trademark. Because of their comfort and durability, they were dubbed “the Rolls-Royce of cabs.”
These cars typically seat six to seven passengers, while some variants may seat eight.
Hackney carriage drivers in London must pass a test called The Knowledge to indicate that they are well-versed in the geography of London streets, famous buildings, and so on. There are two sorts of badges: one for the suburbs and one for the entire city of London. The one for the entire city is thought to be significantly more difficult. Drivers who own their cabs rather than renting from a garage are referred to as “mushers,” while those who have just passed the “knowledge” are referred to as “butter boys.” The Public Carriage Office licenses around 21,000 black cabs in London.
You can read more here.
To conclude, black is a symbol, a state, a brand and, whatever it is, it is more than a colour. It is everything you want and more. Black, you feel it, you sense it, has great impact, is deep, is decadent and pious at the same time. It’s a contradiction, a paradox. It is what we all love and often avoid. It is seen as common yet posh. Minimalist yet creative and rich, uninspired yet elevated. It’s a statement and is controversial in fashion, art, society, and politics.
I’m assessing fashion and iconic characters through the lens of cultural theory, with a focus on symbolism, art, and anthropological references. Making connections between diverse things and thinking extensively about a particular topic is what my reflections entail.
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