White: Regal and refined


When did the colour of washing machines and microwaves become cool?

It wasn’t long ago that if you saw a white car, nine times out of ten it would have orange stripes along its sides and flashing blue lights on its roof.

Black was the colour to have and to wear, and owning a white motor was a faux-pas akin to wearing socks of the same colour.

But as we now look at new ways of expressing creative and cultural change we are starting to see yet another shift with colour codes as we witness the emergence – or re-emergence – of the use of white as the ultimate luxury palette. Its delicate nature – often associated with royalty and spirituality – signals a return to a luxury ideal that is cherished, and sees the creation of items and environments that require care, attention to detail and reverence.

“ The first of all colours is white. We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no colour can be seen – Leonardo da Vinci ”

White is austere. Maison Martin Margiela’s scent (untitled) uses the purity of white to frame the austerity of his design ideals.


White is startling. Givenchy’s 2011 Spring Summer Campaign features an all white image by photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, designer Riccardo Tisci’s muse Daphne Groeneveld and albino model Stephen Thompson

White is about limited footfall. The Barker Black  brand, which has epitomised ‘modern English refinement’ since 1880 has created white suede brogues to display the intricacy of their craftsmanship.

White is about elegance , which is represented in high end- events or lavish celebrations having all white themes or dress-codes.

Luxury today is defined – and directed – by its very many contradictions: it is both Western and Eastern, extreme and subtle, public and private, worshipped and discovered. Our current fascination with white – and its qualities and applications – is just an example of one way in which we are rising to the new challenge.

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