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New theme: ‘Monochromes’

For this new theme, Europeana Fashion explored its collection through its multitude of hues, selecting a bunch of beautiful pieces for which just one colour is enough!

Colour is a constitutive element of fashion and design. It is not possible to conceive a dress, an object or an accessory without considering its color or hue. As colours bring into fashion influences taken from art, history, economy and politics, it is right to consider the choice of a specific colour as important as the shape or cut of a garment itself.

Bodice and skirt, designed by Madeleine Vionnet, 1921. Collection Les Arts Décoratifs, all rights reserved.

The history of fashion is intertwined with the history of colours. In the past as in the presents, different cultures and traditions have used colours to mark or stress distinctions, may those be social or class related; different meanings were – and are – attributed to different colours, according to their rarity, origin and diffusion, and colours were used accordingly to the ‘role’ the clothes had to perform. Some colours have been associated to precise moments or events in people’s life, becoming inappropriate when worn in other occasions.

Bodice and skirt of Jaquard-woven silk trimmed with satin and lined with glazed cotton, Great Britain, 1862. Collection Victoria and Albert Museum, CC-BY-SA.

As for contemporary fashion, not only many designers have their signature colours, like Elsa Schiaparelli’s ‘Shocking Pink’, Emilio Pucci’s ‘Blu Emilio’ and ‘Rosa Pucci’, or the ‘Quattrocento Blu’ of Lanvin; particular colours have been also associated with the work of a designer, as red for Valentino or black for the radical creations of Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo; in other cases, colour becomes an essential feature of specific fashion object, as for the famous “petit robe noir”.

From this kaleidoscopic universe, Europeana selected from its collection some of the most interesting examples of colour blocks, presenting them in the new theme: ‘Monochromes’! Have a look at it on the portal, and browse our collection by colour, to find many more fascinating objects!

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