In the Pink
As this month’s edition is a “Pink Special” to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month I thought I’d wax lyrical on the subject of pink.
Pink is a bit of a Marmite – either you love it or you hate it. Well, I love both Marmite and pink !!! Pink has often been referred to detrimentally as a “girlie” colour, but did you know that until the 1920s it was the colour for boys, with blue being associated with girls? Over the years (well actually it’s decades now – my goodness where does time go) that I’ve been in the interior design industry pink has been very much in fashion, and then just as much out of fashion. However, as with everything that gets re-invented (and believe me, as time goes by pretty much everything does get re-invented, re-jigged and re-launched) there have been subtle, yet discernable differences.
When I first started work in a humble curtain shop in Romford – yes I am an Essex man, and proud to be so – in the mid-Seventies, the pinks were sharp bluey pinks, often teamed with bright purple, and mostly in huge floral or geometric designs. This was the heyday of the famous Heal’s prints and the like. After a few years of this people rebelled against colour, and we were plunged into the years of brown. Chocolate, coffee, beige - to borrow and adapt Henry Ford’s famous utterance, you could have any colour you liked, as long as it was brown.
Eventually, and thank the Lord, colour crept back into soft furnishings and design. Along with other colours such as orange, pink made a resurgence. But it was, I suppose inevitably, a browny, dusky pink. I remember selling dusky pink velvet by the mile !!!! This continued through the Eighties, perhaps most prevalently in the Dolly Mixture prints and the ubiquitous positive / negative papers and fabrics, and on into the Nineties. Beautiful and elegant floral designs were by now in abundance, not only on elaborate window treatments, but on furniture too.
All was going swimmingly for pink until that dreaded day in 1996 when Ikea first aired it’s “Chuck out your chintz” advert on TV. The nation was inspired (some would say brainwashed), and more or less overnight the wretched Minimalist look swept in. For those of you not regular readers, and therefore not used to my rantings about minimalist interiors, let’s just say they’re not my cup of tea. Enter dull. Enter drear. Enter fifty shades of nothingness. Exit colour. Exit pattern. Exit flair.
Poor old pink was out in the cold for a good few years, with the exception of companies like Designers Guild who never lost faith in print and colour, and who I believe greatly helped to usher in the strong vibrant pinks we use today. Pink is a great colour. Use it as widely or as sparingly as you will. If your home is still a mixture of taupey neutrals, give it some zing by adding a fuchsia pink feature chair. Throw some pink cushions on your white bed linen, or add pink towels to your bathroom.
As I’ve mentioned over the last couple of months, this is the time of year when manufacturers launch their new collections. We were at Decorex in London quite recently, viewing the good and mostly very good products on offer. One of the stand-out offerings was the new range from Alternative Flooring. They have teamed up with the world-famous Liberty Fabrics to create a fabulous range of rugs, runners and carpets. There are 4 designs, in a total of 10 colourways, all woven on their own Axminster looms. And guess what? The show stopper is a magnificent small floral design called Flowers of Thorpe, in a colourway called Summer Garden, made up of the most delightful jades, soft golds and . . . yes you’ve guessed it – mainly pinks !!!!! Whilst it won’t be to everyone’s taste, it certainly is to mine.
As regular readers will know, I do tend to champion Little Greene paints at the drop of a hat. Not only is the paint of superb quality and covers much better than other well-known designer brands (last time a mentioned a particular company I got into big trouble . . . Farrrrr oh nearly did it again), but the range of colours is truly magnificent. Well, now Little Greene have given me another opportunity to sing their praises. They’ve just launched their latest palette. And would you Adam and Eve it – it’s called the Pink Collection. Presented on it’s own neat colour card, it comprises 8 shades, 7 of which are brand new, ranging from delicate sugary hues through to bolder and richer tones. And just to prove what good eggs they are, Little Greene are repeating their now annual campaign, and donating 15p from each tin of paint sold throughout October to Breast Cancer Haven. Last year this raised a superb £11,353.00.
So there we are. A potted history of my association with pink . . . and long may it continue.
John Biddell, John Charles Interiors
Live 24 7 magazine editorial - October 2016
First image below banner: Dorchester Pink by The Little Greene Paint Company
Image below: Alternative Flooring with Liberty Fabrics Flowers of Thorpe Summer Garden Lifestyle