I love the soft breezy palettes of Scottish coastlines where pale sand merges into grey-blue sea and comforting clouds drift over a laid back sky. Or the hot frenetic colours of a Mediterranean fishing village, where an ice-white house can be engulfed by a profusion of bright pink oleander under an achingly blue sky. Kadinsky famously observed that, “colour directly affects the soul” and for the past year I have been reading the theories and observations by scientists, artists and film directors regarding the effect of colour on our senses. Simultaneously I have studied the colours that nature produces on a seasonal basis and have observed the changes in clients as I continue to provide personal colour analysis. I never fail to be thrilled by the effect that colour has on individual people as well as their reaction as they see for themselves how some shades are highly effective in making them appear brighter, more energetic – in short, more youthful.
Youth is synonymous with energy. The energy and perseverance of young athletes in the Olympics and Paralympics was mesmerising. Do I want to be 20 again? No thanks. Do I want to have the energy of a 20 year old? Of course! Young people can wear most colours very easily. They have bright complexions, clear eyes, white teeth and often they have lean bodies due to being on the move a lot. They can survive on very little sleep but rarely have the tell-tale shadows.
As we grow older our circulation can slow down and, therefore, our complexions take on a duller aspect. This process takes time and is not obvious but this is when knowing the colours that work best for our complexions and facial features can have a dramatic effect.
In the latter decades of the 20th century society appeared to stop recognising the wisdom that can be gained from years of experience, preferring the full on energy of the young. In the 21st century we are increasingly aware of an ageing population, focussing on the cost of this phenomenon rather than the potential. Ageing appears to be feared and as society’s worship of youth gains further momentum we are offered a variety of desperate means that many resort to in order to appear young. And there’s the rub. Young people are not allowed the glory of being young as middle-aged people try to gain the means to appear young, as one young caller on radio 4 recently complained, “Why can’t I be allowed to look good in my twenties without competing with women in their forties?” So my battle cry would be to let the young be uniquely young but let’s make the wisdom that is gained through living life a little sexier! Not by dressing experience and knowledge in sleeveless tops and short hemlines but finding a new identity for the enigma that is the expertise and competence of living life well.
I think that as a society we do not want to be young as much as combine the energy and optimism of the young with the acumen and perception of experience. And when modern society feels comfortable balancing the two fabulous attributes of youth and experience we’ll see how good it looks and how powerful it can be. Because I believe that Scottish coastlines and Mediterranean fishing villages both have their attractions.