I’m ridiculously in love with any coral-colored right now. It started about a year and a half ago; while grocery shopping I spotted a glamorous woman wearing a full skirt in a very bright orange-coral color. While I occasionally do orange, I have to be in a pretty zany mood. But this was less in-your-face. I searched and searched for something in a similar color and just about died and went to heaven when I spotted a calf-length silk wrap skirt in the exact hue I’d been dreaming about, and on clearance.
First, the whole casual California beauty of the photo made me want to like summer (I start to dread it in Texas), and second it was that bright coral again (or, in designer parlance “blood orange”), and this time with an unusual pairing with a blue. I bought this top, too, and then I started putting it against every shade of blue I could find. It looks amazing with lavender blues and royal blues. So I found myself shopping for a blue linen so I could make some trousers that would show off the coral. (Still an unfinished project, sigh.) Then I got obsessed with royal blue.
I get crazy about colors. I have over 30 different roses in my garden–and by this I mean different varieties. I have trouble with repetition, but I also get obsessed with getting a certain exactness in color so I keep trying new flowers until I find some elusive pigment. With roses, there are so many subtle shifts in color that I really want to see them all. By far, my favorite color in roses is a pale shell-pink, with coral undertones. (The translucent skin-pink of David Austin “Heritage” rose comes closest of all to my favorite rose color.)
My obsession with coral quickly turned to finding a more subtle, pinkish kind. I went on a hunt for it in lipstick, in bathroom towels, and in silk fabric for a house robe. (For the record, MAC lipstick in Vegas Volt is great showoff-y coral and in Sea Sheer is a nice summer light coral). I ordered samples of 4 different coral silks and just about gave up when I saw an antique kimono on ebay that had what appeared on my screen to be the magical coral–the perfect mix of light pink and light orange. I snapped that up and even ordered some kimono fabric remnants from Tokyo. It seems coral is a common shade in kimono.
I feel like a painter in search of an elusive hue. Computer screen color rendition makes things even more complicated. I’m inundated with peaches, salmons, persimmons, and melons. Ooh, there’s even a “lobster pink” that comes close. It certainly doesn’t help that the fashion industry up and decided that coral is in. It showed up in so many collections that I’ve just about died and gone to heaven; where were you last year!?