One of the most significant colors on the wheel, red has come to symbolize many emotions, historical events, and ideals but one thing this color does not do is sit quietly on the palette.
Perhaps the oldest color ever to be sought after by ancient artists, red was a pigment commonly created as far back as 170,000 years ago!
It is believed that cave-dwellers in the late Stone Age would collect and grind clay ochre; commonly found in nature, its deep red hues were a preference for cave drawings and body painting.
With the emergence of civilization, red began to take on a more historically significant role. In China, red is considered the color of happiness and luck. Often, the doors of homes will be painted red to welcome good fortune and positivity.
An ancient custom in Indian culture, brides wear red sarees as their wedding dress to symbolize purity and celebration. Often paired with metallic silver or gold embellishments and coordinating accessories, the red serves to draw attention to the bride on her most special day and it is a truly stunning effect!!!
Following the French Revolution in the late 1700’s, red became symbolic of determination, impassioned activism and communism. As seen here, wearing a red accessory, especially the hat or bonnet rouge, was a strong declaration of freedom from an oppressive monarchy. Though outwardly supportive of the revolutionary cause, both Marie Antoinette (pictured above) and her husband, King Louis XVI, were executed; effectively ending the significant ruling history of the absolute monarchy.
Emotionally, the color red has a long-standing association with romance and fiery passion. According to ancient Greek lore, the red rose first appeared as Aphrodite dripped the blood of her wounded lover, Adonis, onto the petals of a white rose. It is no surprise, then that the color of blood, our life-force, is so strongly associated with the boldest emotions felt by the living.
Throughout history, red in fashion has always correlated strongly with wealth. Because it required a significant combination of dyes and deep saturation, red became the color equivalent of an upper-class calling card! Today, iconic fashion garments including Hermes Birkin handbags remain at the helm of classic couture. And how amazing are these red suede stilettos, wrapped up just like the beautiful present they would be to receive!!
Another iconic red, Revlon’s 1952 Fire and Ice campaign featuring Dorian Leigh kicked off what has become a cult classic in the realm of beauty. This bold color, especially when paired with matching fingernails, continues to represent the power and femininity of its wearer. Equally as recognizable, Christian Dior’s first makeup product, the Dior Rouge lipstick, was a declaration to the art of seduction.
In the home, red can serve as an impactful addition to any scheme or aesthetic. Due to its ability to stir emotions and set strong tones, its use in design is often carefully approached. It has been said that red accent pieces should be without imperfection because, inevitably, the eyes of those visiting the room will be drawn to it!
How incredible is this vintage inspired, Meneghini ice chest complete with options for a fitted pantry space, coffee maker, steam oven and more?! Truly a statement piece, this Italian designed and manufactured unit would be the crowning jewel…a ruby of course… in any kitchen!! You can have this for a mere £16,400 (!!!) available in the UK at Robeys.
Courtesy of Architectural Digest, the kitchen of Robert Duffy's historic Manhattan apartment features red appliances that make this space an instant classic! The look is made complete with walnut cabinetry designed by Jaklitsch/ Gardner Architects, mirrored backsplash and a Sub-Zero refrigerator with custom lacquer panels. I adore the red Bertazzoni range which can be found right here in Houston at Acero Bella!!
Also known for its ability to stimulate hunger, red can often be found in many restaurant settings and food packaging! Red M&M’s were eliminated in 1976 due to health concerns over the red dye, and then reintroduced in 1986 because of a worldwide campaign!!
This red dining room we plastered for designer Anne Lydick, is both dramatic and warm. I can just imagine enjoying a meal for hours amidst the glow and texture of this sumptuous space!
Red is also a major component of many holiday decorations. Whether it’s complimenting its green counterpart during Christmas or paired with black or pink for a romantic Valentine’s Day, bold red serves to highlight its hued partner by the effect of contrast.
Glamorous and romantic is the pairing of red roses, metallic accents and the glow of candlelight. With the addition of some sprigs of holly and cranberry accents, this tablescape would translate beautifully into the Christmas holiday tablescape!
In honor of this vibrant and jolly color, try your hand at this red, Merry Mojito.
Merrily muddle mint, lime and Pom juice in a tall glass. Add crushed ice, rum and top with 7up. Add pomegranate seeds and stir with peppermint stick. Enjoy!
Whether you are swiping rouge onto your lips or decorating your table this season, don’t forget the bold impact red can have on all areas of living it touches! For more of my favorite reds and Christmas inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards here! I hope that you all have a very, merry holiday this year celebrating with loved ones!!!
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