Behind the Archetypes

Continuing to examine the content of David Zyla’s book Color Your Style.

About chapter 6: the Archetypes. Where Zyla presents 24 different colour seasons, four main Seasons with six different subseasons each.

Now, I want to write about the 24 colour seasons and to leave the so called archetypes in the background. Because I do no think any of the archetypes is limited to one colour season alone. That would mean that people of a certain colour palette should be of one kind only. And it is absolutely not so. To pin people down in this way would be ever too easy.

What, definitely, is true, is that a person fits into a certain palette and that she does have certain bodily characteristics, that would place her in one of the capital styles, comprising of Natural, Classic, Creative, Dramatic, Romantic and combinations of those.

What Zyla does is to project certain kinds of being and behaving onto certain colour types. Springs being flirty and little girlish. Summers — Autumns—-Winters—. All of which he calls ”archetypes”. But archetypes are generalised patterns, not descriptions of individual women.

Because he does not present us with any palettes, I must guess what colour types lie behind the names of all the different colour seasons.

Beginning with Vital Spring, Zyla claims she should wear high and crisp contrasts, and primary colours, like red scarf and black coat, and white polkadots on blue umbrella. Which steer my thoughts to a rockabilly woman from the 50’s, and he also says this type is comfortable with 50’s styles and also with vintage clothing. Pure colours are those who become a Clear Spring, talking with CMB.

Now follows the so called Early Spring. She should wear pastelles of a low and gentle contrast, different values of same colour from head to toe. Spring pastelles meaning warm but light colours, and this should apply to the Light Spring of CMB.

The Floral Spring also has crisp contrasts, brightly coloured, which makes me wonder whether she to is a Clear Spring. So what then is the difference between Vivid and Floral Springs?

Buoyant Spring is the Beach girl: a shorts or capris and sandal type, and what she needs is a pattern that tie her outfit together. Is the contrasts weak or strong? In any case, she is of a Spring palette. There are some very distinct colours of the capri trousers and shorts being sold from catalouges and websites all over: they either come in strong bonbons like red, coral, rose, yellow, blue or else they are often bleached blue jeans with torn edges. The brights fit any Spring’s sun tanned legs and the blue bleached ones fit light and cold Summer’s. And since the type is a Spring, she sure will not be a light one. Remaining then, for our buoyant friend, the etiquettes Clear or Warm Spring. (Though all Springs are Warms, so would prefer to call the Warm Spring a Golden Spring or a Soft Spring instedad, because her colours are often subdued compared to her clear sisters.

Mischievous Springs should wear gently contrasting clothes, but sometimes she could have stronger contrasts, says Zyla. Any idea what colour season she would be? I have not. But I do considering style. She would be a bit of a Sarah Bernardh or a 20’s flapper, at least if wearing a feathered head band to a simple lined dress, which is one of Zyla’s suggestions for this type. Gentle contrasting means small contrasts, like very light tones, or very darks, worn together – or tones of close vicinity in the middle of the scale. Very lights should apply to Light Springs, very darks to dark ladies – but those are often Winters, or maybe darkly suntanned dark haired Europeans. Only dark Springs in the CMB system are the Clear Ones. The Mischievous Spring’s archetype, the Pixie, makes me remember the star of French film noir movies, like ”The last Breath”, Jean Seberg.

Tawny Spring women ought to be Warms. Warm/Golden/Soft Springs all names for the same colour season. Contrasts are what she makes them. Or rather, there must be different kinds of Tawnies, some pull of low contrasts, some high, some in the middle. To combine colours in any way, haphardsly, would not look good on anyone. it should say the Tawny Spring combine colours in any way that fits her. But that should apply to all other season types as well.

The Summer palettes:

Classic Summer. Classic is a main style category. There is also a Classic Winter. But, mind you, Springs and Autumns can also be Classics, so why not any such descriptions in the book? Classic Summers should wear gentle contrasts, values of the same colour from head to toe. A filmstar palette represented by Grace Kelly among others: she was the fresh, coolish kind of woman – a Summer of the light and cool type. Of the other women in this category, there are only Scarlet Johansson and Beyoncé that I know of. Scarlet giving a softer apparence than Kelly, and Beyoncé, obviously not being Light, maybe she is Cold or Soft Summer? Why is not Gretha Garbo here? She appears later in another colour cathegory, though I remember, her too, often being dressed in low contrast movie clothes. And then I come to think of Lauren Bacal, but she will also be in another category.

Jeweltone Summers are most contrasted of all Summers – which does not mean most of all Seasons. At her best, she will wear solid blocks of colour. This is what has been modern, recently. Colour blocking. Artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres bring about colours which I associate to the season of Soft Summer but also Soft Autumn. The Jeweltone representatives, Tina Frey, Andie MacDowell, Jaclyn Smith, Katherine MacPhee are all fairly soft, they have matte skin, so softs. But where are the jewel tones?

First medium contrast lady in the Zyla system is the Sunset Summer. Sunset bringing to life Autumn women, but here in company with Summers. But is she a Light, Cold or Soft Summer? Celebrities Julia-Louis Dreyfus and Julianna Marguiles. They are both light skinned, dark haired women, and so I wonder, why medium contrasts? Suppose Zyla knows what he is talking about when suggesting her clothes. Should absorb and reflect light: that sounds like the Moon to me.

Very low contrasts for the Dusky Summer. Dusky ought to mean Soft. I percieve Soft Summers as matte in complexion. So who are Duskies? Maggie Gyllenhall and Meredith Vieira. Pastell combinations. That is cool pastels as in the rokoko era. But there is the Light Summer, too.

Painter Maxfield Parrish’s pictures are fairytale-like illustrations with a Disney twist and in 3D, very strong colours. Which should apply to a real Jeweltone type and maybe to the Irridescent Summer. Nothing ”dusky” in those. Dusky Summers should not wear satin, because the luster of satin is too strong compared with her very moderate sheen – not any at all, as I perceive it, but matte.

Dusky Summer is mellow which means she is rounded and mature. There is also a Mellow Autumn. Should want to know where we ripe and fat ladies fit into the system? Are all round women Duskie Summers or Mellow Autumns? Should not think so.

Thought I might be a Renaissance Summer because of my colours’ likeness to Botticelli’s model Simonetta Vespucchi. But when I tried on a tapestry patterned jacket it seemed like an army jacket on me, stiff and the beige background to the rose pattern was much too cold and dissonant against my face. Maybe a golden beige. But the jacket in itself looked hard and my neck peeping out from an armor! So the style was not for me, anyway. But probably Simonetta should not dress in that style anyway, she should wear light flowing garments as in the paintings. Rich fabrics whos subtle lightplay accentuate the Renaissance Summer’s skin and hair. Although Zyla suggests for this type tapestry like patterns like in the Renaissance and brockade, her beauty brought to life by deep browns, teals and burgundies. Peter Paul Rubens’s art representing this type, though not extremely mellow – and Rubens painted a lot of mellow ladies! Deep browns and teals are also for Autumns. But burgundy being a cool hue is for Summers. Here, in the category of Renaissance Summer, he has placed Gretha Garbo, but also Cate Blanchett.

Even the Iridescent Summer should wear low contrast, shades of same colour from head to toe. Translucent, shimmering fabrics, chiffons. Water colours. These women are delicate and should incorporate silver iridescence in their outfits. Element: water. Iridescent comes from ”iris” another name for the rainbow. Rossalba Carriera, an 18th C. painter of rokoko women, see here. Another rokoko painter Fragonard represents the Floral Spring. The Swing, here.Bildresultat för fragonard This salmon colour is cool, not warm. She is rather a light Summer than a Spring.

Reaching into the next Season, the Spicy Autumn with the most blended look of all. She is spicy so most probably she is the Warm Autumn – all Autumns being warm, so I will call her a Golden Autumn, or, why not ”Spicy”? She favours muddy browns and greyish greens which she combines with colours of spice and flavour. Sounds a bit like me.

Mellow Autumn – aha, another mature girl, wears relatively low contrast. And this is of autumn colours! Low contrasts of hot autumn season colours! Twilights of an autumn evening in a dewy garden. Nothing harsh or cold. And not so very hot, either. That means, in my book, Soft! Soft Autumn.

The Gamine Autumn is one of the atypics, Tawny Spring being another. She is also of medium contrast. Wear one colour at a time and add prints for another.  Like a medium contrast paisley patterned summer dress.  She wears different kinds of silks – which are sheeny, for which her skin is adapted. Warned to not wearing classic styles, nor chiffon fabrics because this has no ”pluck” meaning Resourceful courage and daring in the face of difficulties; spirit, according to The Free Dictionary. Gamine Autumns have medium contrasts – meaning there is a noticeable discrepancy between how light their skin is contrary to their hair and eyes.

Copper Autumns like Rita Hayworth and Katherine Hepburn – low contrasts with a bit of drama like her metals.  Orange red too strong for her and besides it clashes with her red hair. Royal blue washes her out. Royal blue being a Winter colour. Orange red a dissonance against her hair, must mean she has a very strong red element in her hair. People with more orangey hair can wear orange red, it does not clash!

Bronze Autumn, Sophia Loren being one,  high contrast is demanded. If she wears one colour only, she should add texture. Long lines, assymetrical, dashing clothes suits her flamboyant, dramatic and exotic nature. Well, I understand this, to be a description of her style. The muses of Gustaf Klimt, light skinned females with strong dark features and thick black hair. Dark Autumns in the CMB theory.

High Autumn: to my surprise Zyla counts Jodie Foster to those. I really thought she was a Summer type, possibly a Soft Autumn in any case. But needing a vivid, high contrast look. I though Foster were a low contrast type. Dramatical and theatrical, a sweater of a certain colour could match the same colour in a pattern of a skirt.  One of the asymmetrically styled types. Textures, gentle patterns to the level of flamboyance.


















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