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Seeing Red

I honestly do not know if this dress is an original by Mariano Fortuny, but it's a splendid reproduction if it's not. I found it on a website advertising lamps.

Seeing Red

On Sunday, March 24, I'm hosting a Intuitive Painting and Color workshop here in my home studio with painter and musician, Vessna Scheff. (Event and link will be posted in a day or so), so for the next few weeks, I decided to focus on one of my favorite things.... COLOR!!! I decided to start with the color red since it's the color associated with first Chakra (the root) and if any color can stake a claim to be the oldest, it is red. Not only does it run through our veins, it can be found in the earliest of cave paintings.

As far as fashion is concerned, red has been associated with royalty and the elite for centuries, but after the "New World" was discovered in 1492, a new source of the coveted crimson was introduced. The Spanish learned from the Aztecs how to harvest and dry an insect that is a parasite on the Prickly Pear Cactus. The Cochineal was the closest thing Europe had ever seen to be a perfect red and the Spaniards closely guarded their secret by allowing speculation as to whether it was a berry, a bug or a mineral.

I could spend hours on the symbolism and cultural implications of scarlet, but I'll save that for another post. Next Fashion Friday is just a few days before Saint Patrick's Day, so my focus, of course, will be green... a very specific shade of Emerald that fashionistas of the 18th Century were literally dying to wear. denise PS: Those of you who are regular readers know how easily I get distracted while doing my research. This weeks diversion was Mariano Fortuny, my all time favorite designer. He was featured heavily on the image searches for "red and cochineal in Fashion" since as a Spanish/Italian fashion and textile designer in the early 20th century, he was part of the movement to reintroduce natural dyes to the fashion industry. I did a blog on Fortuny ages ago. Click here if you'd like to read more.

Definitely a Fortuny original.

...and more classic Fortuny

... and one I forgot to add to my newsletter!

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