Think Like A Sapeur

Late last week, a friend of mine posted a link on her Facebook page to this Adweek post, which was giving praise to a Guinness ad featuring the stylish Sapeurs of the Congo.

The ad itself – filmed in South Africa – is fantastic (click the link above to read the post and see the article). But what caught my eye and gave me a little something to think about was this short film that accompanies it. It’s just over five minutes, and it’s a great watch.

The first time I’d seen Sapeurs was in Solange’s video for her song, “Losing You“. I thought these guys were simply created to fit the video’s aesthetic; it was only later that I’d read a little bit about how Solange had come across them.

But man, do they EVER embody that elegance in the face of adversity, that flash and flair they don’t get to display in their daily, working lives. And that philosophy of being in charge of who they are … it speaks volumes.

Now, the Sapeurs may only consist of men. But who says that anyone can’t take a page out of their playbook of elegance? It’s certainly given me something to think about.

2012’s Colour of the Year

While everyone else is trying to cope with shopping, holiday preps, and other pressures that come up at the end of every year …

Everyone’s favourite colour institute is boldly looking forward – emphasis on the world “boldly”.

Today, Pantone has announced its top colour for 2012.

People Who Could Care Less, meet Tangerine Tango.

Yup. Really.

Apparently THIS is the hue that will colour our new year.

I’ll spare you the details here, since you could easily read this article for more on why the Pantone folks are all seeing red(dish-orange).

But if I’ve said it once (and I’ve actually said it twice), I’ll say it again:

Periwinkle deserves a chance. It’s calm. It’s charming. And it’s been long overlooked. Just sayin’.

*Picture courtesy AP, via The Toronto Star.

2011’s Colour of the Year …

Looks like the Pantone Color Institute is at it again.

Remember a few years ago, when I posted about how (while we were all busy living our own lives) the institute’s research branch dubbed chili pepper red the colour of the year for North America?

Hold on to your skirts and shirts, ladies and gents, because the shade for 2011 is good ol’ 18-2120.

That’s colour-authority-speak for honeysuckle

Which is fru-fru-fashion-speak for “pink”.

Reddish-pink, if you want to be technical.

“A brave new color, for a brave new world,” crows the press release.

Apparently it’s going to show up in everything from men’s and women’s fashions to furniture fabrics.

And hockey commentator Don Cherry showed how fashion-forward he already is, when he sported an ostentatious blazer in the aftermentioned hue in December, at Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s swearing-in – incidentally, while giving his “left-wing pinkos” speech.

Yep. Pink. How ’bout that?

Y’know Pantone, After last year’s selection of turquoise, I was slowly starting to change my mind about you guys.

In any case …

Wednesday morning on CBC Radio’s arts and culture program Q, colour forecaster (and Pantone consultant) Keith Recker, explained that hockeysuckle speaks to “our happy rediscovery of positive thinking, of growth, of energy, of looking forward, rather than bemoaning what we may have lost in the recent (economic) downturn.”

He went on to explain a few of the things that go into shaping a colour forecast – which doesn’t really start with colour, but with getting a feel for what people are thinking about, are needing, or lacking, and making the link to such things as psychology, sociology, economy and current events.

Recker says there are already talks about the colour for 2012. The small group of forecasters are taking into consideration next year’s presidential election, plus the tragic events in Arizona – all of which, he says, means things are going to be ” high-volume, high-conflict”.

As a result, he says, people could either end up embracing that conflict by incorporating colours and patterns in their clothes, etc. to demonstrate this feeling of protest … OR shy away from said conflict, by turning to more calming, serene hues.

Huh. Okay.

So, why should we even care? Well, you can listen to the podcast to hear Recker’s opinion. But he does make a point about how much of a cultural thing colour can be. I mean, it explains in part why, for example, in one culture, white might be worn at weddings, while in another, it’s red.

Recker mentioned the colour-picking process for next year may soon be underway. He added that he thought 2012 could be the year for a muddy or earth-coloured tone.

Hmmm …

Well … since Pantone hasn’t yet turned its forecasting towards 2013 … perhaps I should resurrect my campaign to get periwinkle (a.k.a. colour code  17-3932) on the radar?

In my opinion, it’s a hue that just hasn’t been given its due. Colour me biased.

The Quest for Wellies

April showers bring May flowers.

Or so the saying goes.

This year, I want to add a new accessory to my rainy-day arsenal.

Rain boots.

That’s right. Wellies. Galoshes. Gum boots.

And not plain old black or yellow ones, either. Girly ones with good treads, a little heel and a kick-ass pattern.

Weird that a grown woman wants rain boots? But, no. Because I’ve seen other women my age taking on wet pavements, dirty residual snow and muddy patches while being able to look cute doing it.

And it’s causing me to break the Tenth Commandment.

So to fix this matter and right myself as a person, I’m on a quest to silence the little sinner in me by finding my own pair of cute wellies – not just for style’s sake, but to save the grotty pairs of street shoes I own from ruin by rain.

Last week, I took an informal survey of friends on The Facebook of where I could find said rubber beauties, and have been scouting ’round ever since.

No luck, so far. Sears and the Bay sell them, but for between $50 and $60 a pair.

(Um, NO. They’re for rain, not the next flood.)

Payless doesn’t sell them in Canada. (What? Apparently useful footwear isn’t a big seller?)

Wal-Mart’s selection in patterns is shitty and smelly. Urban Outfitters doesn’t sell them in their stores (only online). Neither does H & M. Nor the Gap. Not even Aldo or Town Shoes. Or Soft Moc.

I even went to Mark’s Work Wearhouse and the Canadian Tire downtown. The former has yellow boots with turtles or blue ones with anchors on them for $40. The latter’s cute baby blue model- complete with useless strap on the outside – only came in size 7s. All eight pairs of them sitting on the shelf.

(I can only imagine who decided to order overstock in size sevens … “Yeah, Herb – can we make sure we get nineteen pairs of size 7 boots? We had a bunch of Stepford Wives in here the other day when we were understocked – and it wasn’t pretty.”) 

Which brings me to where I am now. I am still wellie-less and this close to calling upon the Almighty Target‘s online Web site to deliver me a pair, even though I can’t even try them on to make sure they’re the right size until I get them in the mail.

Why? Because they have 80 pairs of boots, in almost every style imaginable. EIGHTY.

I didn’t even know they had a monopoly on the rain boot market. Or that THAT many American girls and women are running around wearing cute rain boots.

… There I go coveting again. That’s gotta stop.

In the meantime, if anyone’s got any new suggestions for where to shop – that might involve me actually being able to try some rain boots on – I’d appreciate it. Fire away.

Update: I did finally find a pair of rainboots  last November. I had to resign myself to paying more for them than I originally planned. But damn, if they’re not cute.