"Call it an antidote to millennial pink. This season, the more strange (and typically unloved) the color, the better. Burnt orange, mustard, muddy green — the coolest colors right now evoke musty basements not touched since the 1970s, garish wallpapers and mothy thrift shop finds. But in luxe fabrics and modern shapes, these pretty-ugly, and nostalgic, shades feel fresh." -NY Times, November 29, 2017
I had my first memorable encounter with 1970s burnt orange when Chris and I came upon a Buddhist monk outfitter in Bangkok. "Monk orange!" I declared with strange attraction. We stopped and purchased a beanie, before continuing onward in our year of travel, moving through the world with the confidence of an Obama presidency bolstering each step.
The color was actually saffron, the chosen dye of Southeast Asia's city-dwelling Theravada Buddhist monks. While forest monks - forest monks! - prefer ochre, the dye made from jackfruit wood. No matter the color, dyes and cloth traditionally had to be sourced naturally - roots, tubers, plants, bark, cotton, silk, hemp, etc.
In the 1970s, natural shades like those of the Buddhists were a sight for sore eyes. Given the psychedelic color bomb of the 1960s, the Vietnam war, and an era of political weariness, "people were suddenly in the mood for something more muted, contemplative and restrained. The mournful, autumn color palette - dark orange, oxblood, copper, brown, harvest gold, avocado green - reminded folks of a calmer time, when vegetable-based dyes colored their surrounding." -theartfulcodger
Hands up, who can relate to a sense of political weariness? I'll be curious to see what the ultra violet Pantone color of 2018 gives way to in 2019. Perhaps something more muted, contemplative and restrained. Perhaps monk orange.