In the black…and red…and white

This time of year can be taxing. You’ve got to deal with last year’s finances, for one. Plus, it’s that in between weather and if you are in Toronto, it changes hourly.

You most certainly want to be in the black when it comes to your taxes but you don’t want to be all-black-clad when the sun comes out. Yet, you aren’t quite ready for bursts of summer colour.

My wardrobe staple for Spring is always black and white, but seeing flashes of red added almost everywhere this season has me falling in love with the colour combination all over again.

Daria Werbowy by Mario Testino for V Magazine #64
Daria gets a dash of red!

I say I’ve fallen in love with it again for a very good reason. You can blame these gentleman for teaching me to love this trio of hues. My first time was with them.

John Taylor, Simon Le Bon and Andy Taylor during Duran Duran’s 1984 tour

The Durans taught me a lot about fashion. You could watch their videos a million times and see something new about an exotic place, about the cut of a jacket, the sling of a belt.

I distinctly remember John Taylor stating in an interview that his favourite colours were red, black and white and it raised my colour consciousness. I recall an early photo of him with dark brown hair, leather pants (it was the ’80s, ya?), white shirt and tailored burgundy suit jacket (surely a nod to his music/style idol – and mine – Mr. Ferry).

That raised consciousness was only cemented by this man…

Classic Robert Smith

Who could forget Mr. Smith’s all-black attire (with a white shirt every now and then), pale, pale skin and smeared red lips? It is a permanent image in my visual vault. There was no cure for what I had then – it was all around me.

One of the most striking examples was from Ms. Siouxsie Sioux – a woman I admired for her colourful character – not just her creativity with couture.

The original queen of transformation – Siouxsie Sioux.

Authenticity was visible in black and white back in those days – no need to bare what your mama gave you – or airbrush it for that matter. But I digress…

…we were talking about crimson and claret amongst penguin classics.

Asmita Marwah’s Scottish sari? Tradition, twisted.  Photo by Manav Manglani

It doesn’t get any more classic than a sari – but Asmita Marwah’s version gets a tartan twist. The future of fashion always respects the past. Project Runway’s Seth Aaron Anderson showed ’40s and ’50s pleats and tucks, paired with leather detailing and killer accessories.

The eyes have it – a look from Seth Aaron Henderson during the Project Runway Season 7 finale show at NYFW in February 2010. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

My soul sister Anamika Khanna added light to our lives with her barely there wisps of ethereal beauty. Her use of red is soft and her pieces remind me of a favourite phrase from one of Norman Mailer’s books: “strong enough to be gentle all the time”.

Anamika Khanna lights up our lives for SS10
From Anamika, with love.

Sometimes, a whisper of red is all that is needed…

Jamie Bochert by Daniel Jackson for Another Magazine, Spring 2010
Immaculate suggestion from Alexis Mabille, during Couture SS10

It can be an unexpected accent on an everyday statement.

The black and white could stand on its own heels, no doubt, but oh, the emotion that a lilt of colour can divine.

Are these streaks of genius, or is it more of a dotted line?

The short and the long of it at Ungaro SS10

Roll the dice and try your luck.

Hay there, don’t be afraid of strutting your stuff! Betsey Johnson FW10

Fashion inspiration can come from many places. It can be your high school crush.

John Taylor – we are not worthy.

It can be your love of all things French.

Sonia Rykiel’s diagonal diva for SS10

It can emanate from a female mentor from the past.

Siouxsie-san

Or, it can be epitomized in fashion’s futuristic femme.

One of Manish Arora’s galactic goddesses for SS10

It can resonate from a favourite photograph…or two.

Striking a pose for Sølve Sundsbø

But by all means, just this once, open your eyes…

A favourite image of mine from Patrizio di Renzo

…and kiss inspiration firmly on the lips, and let it alter you.

Image sources: Daria Werbowy by Mario Testino, courtesy of V Magazine, the three Durans, Robert 
Smith, Siouxsie images, Asmita Marwah courtesy of Vogue India, Project Runway image courtesy of 
Yahoo!, Anamika Khanna images from Life Magazine and mastione.com respectively, Jamie Bochert 
by Daniel Jackson courtesy of Another Magazine, alexismabille.com, Ungaro and Rykiel images from 
style.com, Johnson image from The Cut, John Taylor image from duranduranforever.com, Manish 
Arora image courtesy of WWD, Sundsbø image courtesy of art+commerce, Di Renzo source.

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