Until World War I, the French military went to war wearing snazzy knickers in a chic shade of... #shootmedead red. Not surprisingly, devastating losses forced them to rethink their battlefield attire. To transition the uniforms from targets-practice-on-two legs to stealth, they brought people who were artistically inclined. Although most of these Camoufleurs were illustrators, designers & painters, zoologists were part of the mix later, notably because of their passionate belief that camo was vital for evading aerial observation.
The designers fighting in the trenches took camo out of the context of battle and in 1943, it appeared in Fashionland. “The early article explained what proper military camouflage was to the Vogue reader," explains Hamish Bowles, the magazine's European editor-at-large. “The next article came in 1971, when we published a trend collage on camouflage [that] showed little pictures of society girls around town. It says, ‘It works: the look of uniform. It’s functional, practical, good-looking’ . . . they put it right up there with blue jeans."
The fact that blue is the hue dominating many fashion-camo color palettes merely reflects a massive ongoing trend in the world of style. Starting with what Pantone dubbed the "Expressive 00s", the color giant celebrated the new millenium by selecting Cerulean Blue as the Color of the Year for 2000. Blue was also one of the Top Social Media colors for 2012, garnering 125 million mentions; "Dazzling Blue". The same shade as the Facebook logo, was selected as the #1 shade for Spring 2014, so don't be surprised if, come December, it is crowned the reigning overall Color of the Year for 2014.
- Lesley Scott