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How Color-Confident Are You?—Lessons from the Old World

Written by Candace Ord Manroe

I've always admired the Europeans for their bold confidence with color. (Eighteenth-century English country houses equal sunshine-yellow walls, right?) Fast forward to today's offerings of raspberry, fuchsia, acid green—nothing meek about these hues, yet  Europeans love them. And not the way we do in America. For example, the French, English, Italians, and Spanish don't confine these fresh-to-brazen palettes to their teens' rooms or to modern-only spaces. Or even to a single space in need for a swift kick of coomph, as we Americans tend to do.

That's what so great about how the Old World embraces color. They have no problem upholstering an 18th-century French settee in an up-to-the-minute fuchsia or grape.

New grape introduction from Spanish fabric house, Alhambra

New "Kavana" from Spanish fabric house, Alhambra

The color you just saw was all over Paris showrooms and booths at Maison. What's interesting to me is that such a bold hue is too often mistaken as brash in America. Quick, whistle for the design police. Good taste has been violated and all that.

I think it's time Americans started flexing our color muscles. Beige can be beautiful, but there's so much more out there awaiting us.

This warm bright citrine, also from Alhambra, appeared in various shades and tones across Paris showrooms:



Look for wonderful, evocative colors from Manuel Canovas—"absinthe" and "mandarine" speak for themselves, while "petale" is a pink-tinged lavender and "pensee" is a lavender with more of a purple-plum cast. "Nattier" is Canovas's new green-blue—the color of Angelina Jolie's jade at last year's Oscars.

New this season from Manuel Canovas Collection 2010

New this season from Manuel Canovas Collection 2010



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