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very basic black


After several years of brilliant color, black is back with a vengeance. This year it's unadorned and painfully plain, displaying it's nuances primarily through texture: the shadings of slippery velvet, shiny vinyls and supple leathers; the ambiguity of heavy black rubber soled boots underscoring a long black lace skirt.

What has plunged many designers into darkness? Who turned off the lights? There are several answers--the first being pure practicality--its low maintenance yet hi-tech demeanor travels well. Black is the perfect background for all manner of accessories and makes the wearer feel wonderfully slim.

Black is not a color, it's an attitude. As a personal or fashion statement, black's message comes across loud and clear: I'm chic, I'm cool, I'm in control. It's the ultimate when-in-doubt, I never have to be worried clothing choice.

But is it technically a color? In terms of lighting it has been described as the negation of color; in pigment, it is said to contain all color. We do know that it is a strong psychological presence: powerful, dominant, pervasive, persuasive. Consumers buying habits and attitudes concerning black have altered drastically in the last decade. The "no--no's" of the past have gone away. Food is served on black plates, children are dressed in black and we are no longer obliged to wear black to funerals.

Occasionally we read that navy blue, brown or charcoal is replacing black, but this hasn't happened. Just as there are infinite shadings of red, green, blue, yellow, purple, etc., there is no generic, one-size- fits all, definitive black. Black can range from Raven to Phantom or Licorice to Caviar and just as the names imply, all very capable of creating a variety of moods, attitudes and ambiance.

Because the consumer continues to demand black, like the Ever-Ready battery commercial on television, "it just keeps going... and going... and going..."


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