BE SCENE, GREEN: THE COLOR GREEN — EXPLORING MEANING AND CONTEXT, FASHION, BRAND, STORY.
What does Kim Kardashian know, anyway?
As a strategist, and a person that writes about it: strategy, design, visualizations, message, name and place: I’ve wondered about the concept of green. It’s a widely bantered word — green. But the point is what is the story there — green. Where does it come from?
Interestingly, the link to green is grow. From the Old English, grene, earlier groeni, related to growan “to grow,” which comes from West Germanic: *gronja- (cf. Old Frisian grene, Old Norse grænn, Danish grøn, Dutch groen, German grün). But the real root goes back thousands of year, simple — from Proto Indo European base of *gro- “grow,” through sense of “color of living plants.” Green Beret — the British commandos, 1949. Green room — the room for actors when not on stage: 1701. Green is a deep word, explore here — rich, complex, engaging. And, too, the analyses of the green — the layers of it, it’s laden with variation and meaning, more on that front here.
So it struck me as interesting to get this in the mail — a digital note from Bergdorf Goodman: Army+Green. Green, growing, army. I wonder about color, the concept of color in brand — if there’s a color story, then how does it work, who reacts, who listens, and why?
That idea of army and green extends across territories — I wandered, looking for more, horizontally. What’s green, where’s the implications of the military link in — and why now? Bergdorf bases their instincts on a string of offerings — all linked to the conception of army green.
I think it must be Kim Kardashian. She likes it, so — why not?
The story begins there? Speaking of human brands, in her discerning overview, to applications, are as follows: “I’ve been wearing a lot of army green and military inspired pieces lately. There are some fashion trends that I just think will always come back around and the army look is one of them. I try to find strong but feminine pieces… it’s all about taking the masculine elements and sexing them up a bit! So you can still have the strong shoulders and the pants, but cinch in your waist with a belt or match an army green jacket with a cute, girly shirt and jeans. What do you guys all think about the army-inspired fashion trend?”
“I tried to find a few items that are both affordable and totally have that military feel. Click here to see what pieces I found and where I found them!” (Actually, couldn’t find that “click point” — but the link is above, and you can search around as you will.) Look at all that military.
Actually, the trend positioning for the conception of army green being the emerging palette of 2010 began earlier in the year (then, too, 2008.) The other notion to the nature of this color is the entire range of what might be called — to this season — the military expansion of fashion styling and brand. Given what we’ve gone through, all the warring outrages, what would the relevance, or resonance of that possibly be? Surely, a reader out there has that thought? An answer? The answer might be in the patterning of the sequence — the military styling is something that has revealed itself, off and on, for years. Back, in deed, to the closure of WWI. Note, here, for example: Burberry and the Trench.
YSL, another. But the actual tracking — the history of the uniform “code” and value — is noted in a tract with the opening pronouncement: “Forward” (as in march!) from the Quartermaster Foundation, “The development and adoption of the present Army Green Uniform represents the culmination of efforts extending over a long period of time to achieve a distinctive appearance for U.S. Army personnel and an identity as an attractively uniformed Armed Service. It was the result of a long-range development program established after World War II -when widespread dissatisfaction with the current standard uniform reached a climax.
The story of this development has been documented primarily in the hope that those concerned with future developments will recognize this achievement and further the tradition with which it is associated.”
There is the one issue, of a kind of generalized gathering > trend hunters:
Others, like Bergdorf’s exploration, move full gear into military detailing:
A folio of of military styling:
Gold buttons, trim, structure?
Who’s buying? That’s a “key” item — $450.00- $1,000.00 plus. Could I find military design – the army green, less expensively? Of course! I’d have to offer an apology, since this isn’t army green, but rather olive drab. $70.00 — a deal.
In writing another piece on the martial design strategies of Ace Hotel, NYC — I was contemplating the nature of military design. It’s (martial design) pretty straightforward – nothing flashy or interesting there — super utilitarian, it needs to work, in a kind of bulletproof way.
Exploring the nature of that form of design I went to another store – the Army Navy Surplus; that’s something that I’d completely forgotten about, as a retail concept – but I was struck by the scent. It was a kind of canvas fragrance, some fragrance notes of old wood, paint — chemically protected fabric and shoe / boot gear: a library of canvas and wool, tinged with leathers and woods. Digging in, globally, the idea of green and military is common — but with variations. There are treatises written on the history of military green — dating hundreds of years of evolution and protocol — the etiquette of color.
Studying this idea of the green — the foundational Army green, there’s more to the complexity; it’s not merely one specified value but a chroma with tuned characteristics.
But what I learned is that Army green really isn’t one color, it’s many — there’s a sequence of variations:
Similar Colors (Lighter)
|Army green – 1||#525A29||82||90||41|
|Army green – 2||#596132||89||97||50|
|Army green – 3||#646B3F||100||107||63|
|Army green – 4||#6F754D||111||117||77|
|Army green – 5||#818763||129||135||99|
Similar Colors (Lighter)
|Army green – 1||#444C17||68||76||23|
|Army green – 2||#3D450E||61||69||14|
|Army green – 3||#323B01||50||59||1|
|Army green – 4||#273100||39||49||0|
|Army green – 5||#151F00||21||31||0|
When it comes to brand, and story, I’m captivated by (and Girvin explores) the idea that color has a profound play in the language of the value of a brand proposition — you might say: it’s that “FedEx purple / orange combination” or it’s the “Kodak yellow,” it’s “firetruck red” — these palettes are inextricably linked to brand — and the story of how they’re experienced. To that end, audiences link the sense of coloration to brand experience. Speaking of retail, I can recall, to reference, a Girvin string of brand stories on the Nokia experience, ING’s micro retail banking conception, Starbuck’s “brandbrown”, Pearl’s pearl-essence; all of these are about linking the strategy of psychological color experience to brandplace — and product offerings. Military? I don’t know that I can comment other than the fact that these issues are much on our minds — what’s happening over there, what’s happening in the world, where are we all going. What’s the answer there — increased sense of security and stability? Who feels that?
Does the notion of dressing in uniform presume a kind of personal psychic stabilization? In and out, it’s a patterning that has been stringing along for decades — threading in, threading out.
What comes around, goes around — it’s cyclic, it’s camouflage, it’s hiding and flaunting the potential of personal protection and disappearance. It’s on, then it evanesces.
What’s your take? Or do you care?
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