Farrow and Ball — the cult, sustainable paint company whose colors often define wider home fashion trends — has introduced 11 new hues this month.
The U.K.-based brand only releases new paint tints every four years, leaving enough time to be influenced by shifts in wider culture. This latest cycle provided quite the whammy of inspiration — a global pandemic changed the way that most people interact with their living spaces and thus, interior design. Homes were inaugurated as part of one’s larger fashion statement, and the women in charge of developing Farrow & Ball’s new colors felt a responsibility to meet this moment with bold new colors.
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Color curator Joa Studholme, said: “I spend a lot of time in people’s houses and help them choose colors. The first thing I do is look at what people are wearing as an indication of their tolerance to color. Compared to five years ago, it’s chalk and cheese. Five years ago it was about layering grays and not wanting to express ourselves too much and now it’s about creating memories.”
The colorist, “started thinking about [our new colors] during lockdown and it felt a little bit like rearranging our wardrobe — checking which colors we wanted to wear or enhance with our existing colors. It was about sifting through and making adjustments.”
Among the new colors are Bamboozle, a modernist red-orange and Whirlybird, a cheerful and crisp green. There are fashion references as well, like Selvedge, a dusty mid-blue inspired by raw denim, and Tailor Tack, a warm beige with the slightest pink undertone that was developed in ode to the tailoring thread used in haute couture ateliers. They join established F&B colors like Studio Green, Sulking Room Pink and Railings, names that design-heads rattle off like brands unto their own.
Studholme, along with Farrow & Ball’s head of creative Charlotte Cosby said that their new colors’ tranquil optimism and buttoned-up attitude were deliberate.
Studholme said that the new formality of Farrow & Ball’s colors comes from the idea that, “it’s like how we are putting on a shirt and skirt after wearing sweatpants for years. The same thing applies to our homes, people want more formal areas.”
Cosby added: “I think we would all agree that with the amount of bad things going on the world, we all need a bit of optimism. Through the ages we’ve needed a bit of color to get ourselves out of a recession. If you look back at the U.K. in the ’60s, there are loads of bright colors. At home you can control that mood and feeling.”
The two women are seeing a new trend emerge in home color — an increasing number of people are painting the inside of their cabinetry with bright accent colors. “It’s like having a fuchsia pink lining in a black suit,” said Studholme, referring to the increasingly blurred line between apparel and interior fashion choices. “It’s just in the cupboard so it gives you an amazing flash of color. We are seeing people have secret pockets of things they’ve done for themselves, like painting the inside of a closet bright orange. It helps you smile and feel good.”
The color in one’s Zoom background also continues to be a consideration. Cosby said that she recommends choosing a color that is flattering, while Studholme added: “People seem to like to have bookcases behind them, and if they do have shelves, I tell them to paint them the same color as the walls so there are no distractions.”
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