August 30, 2007

Designer color names

One of the challenges faced by fashion designers is coming up with new names for the same old colors. For example, here is a sandal whose strap color an unfashion-forward individual like myself might describe as "blackish" but a professional designer describes as "Ballistic Anthracite." What the hell is that? It sounds like a weapons system from one of those sci-fi alternate histories of the Civil War in which the War Between the States finally ends in 1887 when Pennsylvania wipes out Virginia's fleet of steam-engine tanks with a salvo of coal-powered missiles.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

15 comments:

Mr. Pooh said...

I can't tell if the texture is like that of ballistic nylon, but that may be reason for the name.

Anonymous said...

<"Ballistic Anthracite." What the hell is that? It sounds like a weapons system from one of those sci-fi alternate histories of the Civil War in which the War Between the States finally ends in 1887 when Pennsylvania wipes out Virginia's fleet of steam-engine tanks with a salvo of coal-powered missiles.>

That's quite the feat of free association, Steve. I'm not a trained Freudian therapist but I think I can safely say there's definitely something wrong with you.

BTW, the pointed heels of many strappy sandals can be very effective weapons. I know you think women wear them just to look good but, no, self-defense is often on their minds as well.

Peewee's Attempt at Light-Hearted Humor said...

And here's Crayola's latest: Sunburnt Cyclops, Dragon Drool, Lobster Lips, Winter Wizard, and about a dozen more "silly scents" guaranteed to keep your children absorbed as they sniff their way to happiness.

I heard about a Chinese sofa company using da N-word as part of one of their color names. I filed it under "golliwog" on my hard drive but I cant seem to find it now.

My all-time favorite is a paint bottle that due to a half-hearted effort at internationalization ended up with the French name "laît de au de café". The same company also merged the names for two shades of green in French into "vert pâle".

David said...

Uhmm...strappy sandals...

While we're free associating (and Steve's was an actually brilliant connection, funny as hell), I am reminded of a scene in the movie "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." Myrna Loy as Mrs. Blandings is dictating the color scheme of her new house to two conspicuously masculine painters. "I want an apple green here - not quite autumny, but a sort of happy apple..." etc. (or words to this effect). Her descriptions of the many colors she wants are highly nuanced. After she leaves them, one painter turns to the other: "Did you get all that?" "Yeah," replies the second painter, "red, blue, and yellow."

american fez said...

In my experience, the true color of all sandals is actually a shade of reddish-brown the trendy designer in me has named "Bruised Toe"

Shouting Thomas said...

There is only one inference to be drawn from the "ballistic anthracite" bit.

The writer is gay.

agnostic said...

This is mostly a mid-level phenomenon -- you'd never read a description of clothing from an exalted "design house" described as ballistic anthracite. "Gunmetal" is about as weird as it gets. And sometimes the names are useful: plum or raisin or eggplant looks different from lighter shades of purple.

But yeah, when it's clearly black but has some stupid name, it's mostly to make people feel like they're buying some exotic treasure. oooooh, aaaaaah....

James said...

You always kinda struck me as the stamp collector type. Guess not.

Anonymous said...

Two practical problems when color wheels and commerce collide are when trying to match paint colors.

(1) Higher-end paint companies like Sherwood-Williams regularly change their CYMK base tincture formulas every few years to force consumers into repainting entire rooms rather than doing small touch-ups. Your old 2006 Likeable Tan does not match the new 2007 Likeable Tan.

(2) Even without this, more complex colors often fade and will not match fresh batches, so that old Kilim Beige now looks somewhere between Divine White and Pacer White and is impossible to match.

- JAN

SFG said...

There's nothing wrong with that association, it just tells us Steve likes alternate history. Which isn't too surprising for a paleocon. I'm sure a lot of them would enjoy fantasizing about a different side winning the Civil War...;)

Not that us Northern liberals can't get into the act. It would kinda suck for the black people stuck in the South, but without the South in the country, we'd have national healthcare and a 35-hour workweek.

Frigham Olds said...

It's possible for a carmaker to offer cars painted on an assembly line in any Pantone shade one might want by using a four-color mixing gun in the automated spray booth. However, resistance to this simple idea is high because carmakers believe most people want a car that is the same color as many others on the road.

Anonymous said...

My favorite quest for the perfect name was that associated with the Edsel. Before deciding to name it after Henry Ford's dead son, the Ford Motor Company commissioned poet Marianne Moore to come up with suggestions. These included "Mongoose Cigique", "Pastelogram", "Pluma Piluma", "Intelligent Whale", "Magigravue", "Regna Racer", "Andante Con Moto", "Turcotinga", "Varsity Stroke", and, speaking of ballistics, "Resilient Bullet" and "Bullet Cloisonné." She filed one late entry, "Utopian Turtletop", but that too was rejected.

Steve Sailer said...

And there was never any work for poets in Detroit again ...

Steve Sailer said...

My 1998 sedan is black, because I thought it looked cool back then. But it's 105 right now, and it's just hot and dusty-looking all the time. I'll never get a black car again. My 2001 minivan is something like "granite gray-green," which means it's basically the same color as dust. It doesn't look cool, but it can go about four times longer between washings as the black car.

Jantzen said...

I'm restoring a Graduate-era Alfa Spider. I'm painting it Chrysler Turbine Bronze, just because it is obviously not a factory color but not garish.