If you travelled by tube in London this week you may have seen an interesting stunt, organised by Dulux, the paint company. A dozen models dressed head to toe white jersey fabric “morph suits” got on at Oxford Circus and travelled on the Circle line.
Dulux claim that Londoners have been rejecting louder sartorial choices in favour of grey and black over the past decade. I have certainly found that to be true. We seem to crave the anonomity that is associated with wearing black. In the gym in the morning, where I incidentally watch half a dozen women dress, I note that five out of six appear to be in black or other deep neutrals.
Marianne Shillingford, Dulux creative director, said: “We add more colour when we are off duty as a celebration of freedom and an expression of individuality. If we could turn up the colour dial in every aspect of our lives, the sense of liberation would feel like a revolution – without colour life would be devastation.”
Yet the message is rather a peculiar one. This is a paint company complaining that people wear a lot of black and grey. And what do you think the most popular colours are for paint these days? While Magnolia (a slightly pinky cream) held the top spot for years, now Dulux sells more “oatmeal” – a light grey, coolish, white. Same with the other companies. Grey is the most popular colour for walls too.
Why do we stick to grey and black – the graphic shades – for our homes and everyday wear – rather than choosing colours that flatter and amplify our own colouring? Even though I make quite an effort to wear colour I have to admit I do really love grey myself. When do you wear colour, and why?