Pantone has officially announced that green is the Spring Summer seasonal colour. But what does green mean to us?
Pantone, the world authority on colour, has officially announced that green is Spring Summer’s fashion main colour trend. In detail, for those who are interested, PANTONE 14-0446 Tender Shoots , PANTONE 14-6011 Grayed Jade, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald for women and PANTONE 14-0210 Tidal Foam, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald and PANTONE 14-6011 Grayed Jade for men.
Though green is a fashionable colour this season, the sociological and historical reverberations of the hue are many, and very significant.
Firstly, green is associated with nature, with grass, trees and with spring. Landscape, like in the Italian flag where it represents the colour of our pastures, and also new beginnings, and hope. Hope represents the faith that things will improve after a period of difficulty, akin to the renewal of flowers and plants after the winter.
Green however takes on more semantic meaning once removed form its natural context.
In conjunction with the biological green, the colour is most commonly associated with youth. It is also often used to describe anyone young, inexperienced, probably an analogy to immature and unripe fruit. At the same time green is often used to symbolize rebirth and renewal and immortality. In Ancient Egypt for example, the God Osiris, king of the underworld was depicted with green skin.
Green is also associated with love and sexuality. This originates form the medieval period when green represented the love, and natural desires of men. The choice of colour comes from the Bible, from Genesis, where the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was indeed green, thus the association between the colour and desire. Still in medieval times, troubadours, represented growing love with metaphors including green.
In other ancient cultures, green takes on a supernatural light, with dragons, monsters, fairies and the devil all being depicted as green. Iconographically, the dragons who terrorized peasant villages and the high seas were physically similar to lizards.
While in Chinese culture, dragons, usually benevolent creatures, but dragons nonetheless, were also depicted green. In British and Irish folklore, fairies, gnomes and leprechauns are green, a colour associated with witchcrafts and witches themselves, also sometimes coloured green for effect.
Green is again associated negatively by Shakespeare who in Othello coined a well known phrase: “it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on”, and again in the Merchant of Venice he talks of “green-eyed jealousy."
Green has also come to mean socially responsible behaviour, both on a personal level and political. The Green Parties which are now active worldwide, actually date back to the 6th century Byzantine Empire with a political faction in Constantinople taking its name from the popular chariot racing colours.
Green is undoubtedly also the colour of money, originating from the American Dollar, since 1861 since the back of the bills have been that colour. Previously, in the UK, green was associated with bankers and the landed gentry, with the benches in the House of Commons being green.
Regardless the complicated and varying meanings of green, this season, on the catwalks, green is not only the must have colour, but a fashionable representation of spring in all its new-ness and positivity.