Flash of sun

My favourite perfume reminds me of summer and although it’s nowhere near that time of the year, a hint of the colour orange in my wardrobe always helps to lift the mood and remind me that the winter is almost over.

I don’t usually like bright colours, but orange (in moderation) seems to suit me. It also complements my favourite colour – navy, which I wear in abundance all year through and the general subdued colour palette of my wardrobe.

There was actually a time when I sported a strong dislike for this colour. Unlike the cosmetic of pink for example, orange went against my idea of aesthetically pleasing colours. I started thinking about this colour again after reading Huysman’s infamous novel Against the Grain. Dislike evolved into a love-hate relationship and now I accept it into my wardrobe as a contradiction that somehow feels natural.

“All these colours being rejected, three only were left, viz. red, orange, yellow.

Of these three, he preferred orange, so confirming by his own example the truth of a theory he used to declare was almost mathematically exact in its correspondence with the reality, to wit: that a harmony is always to be found existing between the sensual constitution of any individual of a genuinely artistic temperament and whatever colour his eyes see in the most pronounced and vivid way.

In fact, if we leave out of account the common run of men whose coarse retinas perceive neither the proper cadence peculiar to each of the colours nor the subtle charm of their various modifications and shades; similarly leaving on one side those bourgeois eyes that are insensible to the pomp and splendour of the strong, vibrating colours; regarding therefore only persons of delicate, refined visual organs, well trained in appreciation by the lessons of literature and art, it appeared to him to be an undoubted fact that the eye of that man amongst them who has visions of the ideal, who demands illusions to satisfy his aspirations, who craves veils to hide the nakedness of reality, is generally soothed and satisfied by blue and its cognate tints, such as mauve, lilac, pearl-grey, provided always they remain tender and do not overpass the border where they lose their individuality and change into pure violets and unmixed greys.

The blustering, swaggering type of men, on the contrary, the plethoric, the sanguine, the stalwart go-ahead fellows who scorn compromises and by-roads to their goal, and rush straight at their object whatever it is, losing their heads at the first go-off, these for the most part delight in the startling tones of the reds and yellows, in the clash and clang of vermilions and chromes that blind their eyes and surfeit their senses.

Last comes the class of persons, of nervous organization and enfeebled vigour, whose sensual appetite craves highly seasoned dishes, men of a hectic, over-stimulated constitution. Their eyes almost invariably hanker after that most irritating and morbid of colours, with its artificial splendours and feverish acrid gleams,–orange.

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