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Color Study: Mandarin

Our Spring 2019 collection brings the introduction of Mandarin, a color inspired by the scent and hue of the fresh local citrus of the French Riviera.

Shaina Mote — Color Study: Mandarin

In diving a bit deeper we were curious to learn about the significance of the color, and its evolving role, from an early use as a pigment in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings to the importing of the first orange trees from Portuguese merchants to Europe from Asia (before this there was no English word for orange, it was referred to as just “yellow-red”).

In Hinduism and Buddhist tradition, it symbolizes fire — a metaphor for inner transformation, the search for knowledge, and rebirth. Religious robes were often dyed orange with saffron; it was an extremely expensive dye, the use of which hinted at its cultural and social importance.

In art, orange’s metaphorical role shifted as the color became more common, and as citrus itself became more ubiquitous. Pops of vivid tangerine become woven into the details of impressionist and post-impressionist artists: a stripe on Renoir’s painted boats; Gaugin’s still lifes; Van Gogh’s articulation of the sunlight in Provence.

The color has varied in its context — a universal symbol of safety and attention, an alertness connected to its vibrancy. There is a range of meaning and history beneath any visual cue: a single color can hold chapters of significance when carefully considered.

Words by Leigh Patterson

Photography by Tiana Petrullo @tianapetrullo

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