Two years ago, I started gathering info for a story about creatives who once worked at Ralph Lauren. I finally published that story in the fall issue of Designers Today. Due to space issues, I edited some material. Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore Director of Strategic Design Intelligence, wrote the most beautiful piece about Ralph and his affinity for color. Titled ICONIC COLOR MEMORIES OF MY YEARS AT RALPH LAUREN, here are Ellen’s words in their entirety.
Ralph always had a visceral, instinctive, reaction to color. His eyes would either twinkle or wince assessing a fabric swatch or a color chip.
He was not a fan of yellow but was in love with blue, anything blue...chambrays, French blues, indigos, all degrees of denim…blues were always a hit.
He thought brown was hard to wear but especially hard to live with in rooms.
He always reached for a gray, especially gray flannel perhaps because it flattered his sterling silver hair.
He picked Purple for a Label because it signaled clothing fit for royalty.
His shop front awnings and shopping bags were an instantly recognizable shiny navy blue.
He wasn’t a fan of pink but relented for a good cause…the Pink Pony campaign.
Orange tended to be vulgar with the exception of Audrey Hepburn’s tangerine wool coat encountered on a gray, Parisian day.
Red was for riding jackets edged with a black velvet collar and black was reserved for all gestures of drama...the tuxedo, the evening gown and even the memorable Black Barn.
This is how colors became ‘iconic’ to me. These colors were infused with a reference, a story, memories. Through my role at Benjamin Moore, I’ve come to appreciate the emotions attached to colors. Most of us have a personal color palette, a spectrum of colors that flatter us, balance us, transport us.
What feels ‘true’, not trend, becomes and remains ‘iconic’.
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BENJAMIN MOORE’S 2019 COLOR OF THE YEAR
In addition, on October 11th, Benjamin Moore announced its highly anticipated Color of the Year 2019 – Metropolitan AF-690, a stylish gray with cool undertones. “Comforting, composed and effortlessly sophisticated, Metropolitan AF-690 exudes beauty and balance,” said Ellen O’Neill. “It’s a color in the neutral spectrum that references a contemplative state of mind and design. Not arresting nor aggressive, this understated yet glamorous gray creates a soothing, impactful common ground.”