Resort 2011 brought us an assortment of optimistic flavors, one of the most delectable being the chartreuse yellow that cropped up in a variety of collections. Preen and Chris Benz brought us gorgeously draped gowns with a surprising lemony twist, evoking a memorable gown from Olivier Theyskens’ Fall 2007 collection for Nina Ricci. In Francisco Costa’s deceptively simple, architectural collection for Calvin Klein, a drapey citronella-colored velvet sheath was a standout.
ADAM kept it casual by adding a lemon slice to American sportswear, while Roksanda Ilincik rocked the neon yellow throughout her dynamic collection. Nicolas Ghesquiere continued his retro-futurist foray at Balenciaga with a Jetsons-bright airline stewardess number.
Other designers chose to feature the shock of vivid neon yellow in graphic, tribal-inspired dresses. Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman continued to experiment, with delightful success, in more avant-garde fabrics, shapes and colors. Textile masters SUNO printed graffiti-like graphics on drapey fabrics. And at Missoni, the Italian masters of the zigzag knit mixed and matched black and white and neon bright to create a 60′s tribal mod moment.
A splash of vibrant chartreuse yellow offers a unique gift to its wearer. It’s a lively, buoyant party color that does not take itself too seriously. It’s not exactly pretty; it doesn’t feign glamour. It’s simply an electric hue with a sunny disposition, full of laughter and good cheer.
The color has its roots in a medieval French liqueur thought to be an elixir of long life. The original Chartreuse Elixir, composed of 130 herbs, flowers, and secret ingredients in a wine alcohol base, was developed by Carthusian monks near Paris. In 1838, the monks developed a sweeter version of the drink, colored with saffron, which they named Chartreuse Yellow. Both chartreuse green and chartreuse yellow have gone on to storied careers as colors in their own right, offering mirth and lightheartedness wherever they go.
The medieval Carthusian monks always intended for their complex and secret herbal liqueur to be used as medicine. And what better medicine than a little slice of sunshine to call your own?