In 1965, the renowned textile designer, Bernat Klein, launched a series of Personal Colour Guides, designed to help customers choose clothes for themselves based on what colours suited them rather than by following fashion trends.
Klein analysed the colours of six iris types in paint and based on this, produced a general guide to the colours and tones which he thought would be most complimentary to them when worn. In doing so, he was at the forefront of the consumer ‘colour analysis’ industry, advocating his approach to choosing colours some 15 years before Carole Jackson published Colour Me Beautiful (1980) or Bernice Kentner published A Rainbow in Your Eyes (1981).
Klein’s semi-autobiographical work, Eye for Colour (1965), accompanied the launch of the Personal Colour Guides and in it he explains that ‘the main purpose of the colour guides is to help people, men as well as women, to dress better – in the broad, permanent, non-fashion sense of the word; to add good colour sense to their fashion sense; to develop their colour sense – to make them more aware of colours in themselves and in cloths, garments and accessories, to enable them to analyse their own colouring and then enjoy the harmonies and discords that they themselves can create and achieve if they wish to use their sense of colour actively.’ (Klein, 1965. p104)
In 2017, Klein’s family gifted his stock of Personal Colour Guides to the Bernat Klein Foundation, which was established the same year to promote the legacy of Klein’s work and thought. It is the Foundation’s hope that Klein’s Colour Guides can inspire future designers and have an application in everyday life as he intended.
To celebrate the release of these original Colour Guides for sale in support of the Foundation’s aims, the Bernat Klein Foundation is hosting a symposium devoted to exploring the role that colour might play in changing models of fashion consumption and promoting ‘slow’ textiles: how can the colour forecasting industry work towards supporting sustainable production through its narratives? How do personal colour choices intersect with cultural and commercial determinations? How is the colour of clothing used to create distinctive identities or signature styles? Cultural explorations and personal accounts of emotional attachments to particular colours are welcomed.
Call for papers
Proposals are being invited for 20 minute papers and presentations from practitioners; business professionals; early, established and independent researchers on this theme, including, but not limited to:
- Colour forecasting and its influence on the fashion industry
- Sustainable production linked to these supporting narratives and colour trends Personal colour choice and its intersection with cultural and commercial determinations
- Colour and clothing, and its use in the creation of distinctive identities or signature styles
- Colour in slow fashion and the increasing use of archive references Personal attachment to colour and cloth that promotes meaning and social histories
Please direct any queries and submit abstracts and short biographies of up to 250 words each to: Dr. Fiona Jardine firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Alison Harley email@example.com.