Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nude fashion and the colour of human flesh

“Sometimes fashion sets out to provoke. Sometimes it provokes by accident. ‘Whatever you do, don’t call the vogue for nude colours and flesh tones the vogue for nude colours and fleh tones,’ the stylist warned. ‘Last time someone used the word nude to describe a colour, the letters pages went nuts.’ They were apparently upset on the grounds that only a nude Caucasian actually matches the shade referred to as ‘nude’. ‘Flesh’ tones have been big in womenswear for a while, as part of the underwear-as-outerwear thing (no signs of that crossing over to men) and have nothing in common with flesh of African or Indian descent.
You may warily adduce from this that people must live in a state of vigilance for things to be offended by, but I know what they mean. ‘Flesh’ colours bear no resemblance to my flesh, either. […]
The overall effect of this vogue for whatever-you’re-supposed-to-call-them colours is to wash me out, making me look even more like something you’d set about with a crucifix and garlic than I do already. […] You need to exercise extreme caution, and not just when talking about them.”
Alexis Petridis, How to dress, The Guardian Weekend magazine, 19 June 2010, p.49


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