For some black carries a message of being in the shadows and hiding within the cover of darkness. Perceived as formidable and empowering, wearing black reduces feelings of vulnerability. Serving as a protective shield and allowing one to fade into anonymity, black is highly preferred in big cities and by young people in particular who say black emboldens them.
Artists have long recognized the remarkable impact of black. Andy Warhol illustrated the influence of the formidable force of black when juxtaposed against vibrant tones in his work “Shadows.” In early films, actors in classic gangster movies wore black suits, the movie genre “film noire” describes a dark, brutal and violent world of corruption filled with sordid characters and comedies labeled as “black comedy” showcase a sardonic or more perverse sense of humor. And whether through the written word on appearing onscreen, the power of black clearly comes to life in Darth Vader, the rising of Dracula from his coffin and in Edgar Allen Poe’s classic short story masterpiece, The Raven.
And while there was a time where black was first and foremost the color of mourning, the introduction in 1926 of Coco Chanel’s first black dress drastically altered this association. Christened by Vogue magazine as the “frock that all of the world will wear”, the little black dress has turned into a wardrobe staple for every woman around the world. Japanese fashion designers helped to strengthen the status of black as a key fashion color in the 1990’s and today more and more, black is seen as sophisticated, elegant and classic in all cultures, and all ages, becoming an important presence across all design disciplines. However, although attitudes about black have certainly changed over the years, heavy uses of black in a home or office environment could quickly turn a space from something dramatic and daring into one that is dark and depressing, so a cautious eye for editing is important.
The continued importance of black led to the addition of a variety of black shades into our 210 new color additions to the PANTONE Fashion, Home + Interiors palette. With consumers looking for blacks that plumb the highest depths, our new blacks contain heightened color depth that serve to underscore their sleek and sophisticated nature.