Dark Autumn CE and Apparel
February 13, 2012 by Christine Scaman
The previous post was Dark Autumn Landscapes. In 12 Season colour analysis, the Dark Autumn group has a natural colouring that is mostly defined by the properties of the Autumn colours (dark, warm, muted), and importantly influenced by a smaller Winter effect to darken more, warm less, and mute less.
Winter does more than that. It inflicts intensity and complications (which is different from Autumn complexity) on a warm, natural, functional, undemanding (Autumn) group of colours. I said a lot last time about choosing dark colours that are still fathomable and knowable, glowing and rich as Autumn is, instead of black which is too Winter in every way. Black should be occasional from head to toe. Even in footwear, the dark bay Hanoverian horse is better than black. The shadows are black but where the light strikes, it’s brown. If black is necessary, matte is better.
The dressage photo above says a lot to me about the intersecting line between Dark Autumn and Dark Winter. Animals tie us back to our own earth origins and many are necessarily Autumn. The horse is Autumn. The rider’s outfit cost thousands but if you stood beside her, she’d be dusty and smell of hay. The white bandages, saddle blanket, and breeches are Winter’s but the picture is about the horse. The animal is not black. He is darkest brown.
Winter doesn’t only mean verbs like ‘inflict’. It really never graces, embroiders, or enhances, and it barely embellishes. It bejewels. The rich texture of True Autumn becomes luxurious texture. As Nana said about all Autumn, you must feel it to know it – fur, suede, velvet, raw silks. The photos in the previous post were chosen because they had texture – tapestry, fur, roughness, or the scaly skin of the cobra in the music of the bellydance. Texture expresses heat just as colour does. Absence of texture feels colder.
Autumn is close enough to touch while Winter has receded out of arm’s reach. Winter can feel more modern, like a 21st (or 23rd) Century city. Dark Autumn speaks of old luxe, dignified though not monastic. Vintage-antique (the Chanel cardi with handsewn silk flowers and bronze piping) works better than vintage-kooky (the daisy skirt).
As they bridge rural and urban, old world and new, tradition and Winter’s yet unwritten edge, estate and city streets, their scope of looks is enormous. Buckles, zippers, chains, jackets with metal buttons. Riding boots (with breeches, suede knee patches and all), cowboy boots, cowboy hats, tough chic, biker, army. As long as the message expresses strong, work, utilitarian, muscular to some degree – because that’s what the colours say. Then add in Winter’s majestic and serious. Pouffy, polka, bows, round collars, to me, makes no sense. The colours are of Nature matured. It looks inconsistent and scrambled if styles are the opposite, as if the colours, the cut, and the person are all moving in different directions at once. Unstable.
Autumn is honest so keep to the natural look of things. No pink leather or leopard shearling is what I’m saying. This is the Marlboro guy (actually, he’s True Autumn to Indiana Jones’ Soft Autumn). They borrow better from the guys (RayBans, neckties) than from the theater (cat eyes, glitter gloves). Brown is the color of work, countryside, and common sense. A very difficult colour to get right but so worthwhile since it is Autumn’s black.
See how his white shirt and the white wall are greying her face and lips? Do you get the feeling that if those were replaced with cappucino brown, she’d go all five-star dark golden?
Down below…now we’re talking. Pageant Queen makeup has no place here. Pink isn’t right regardless of complexion depth.
Strong flavours. Mustard, spice, vinegar. There is nothing nothing wishy-washy here. A T-shirt and pants? I hope they were free. This is the legging and the dark cognac equestrian boot, the tribal print scarf and ethnic earring, the leather vest, the heavy medallion necklace and the oversize belt, the bronzed burgundy suit jacket. Like a wine cellar, it’s a Season that acquires itself over time. You should hear the drums, taste the wine that fills your whole head, and feel the heat of the forge.
Fabrics don’t have to be completely stiff or lines utterly straight. We’re dressing womens’ bodies after all. Drape is better when it’s not overdone and the fabric has some depth, like heavy velvet curtains.
Wear prints like stained glass. Patterns are pronounced, definitions between colour blocks are quite distinct and strong, and colours are prominent. A Rubik’s cube geometric is too repetitive. An element of antique, abstract, indigenous, or unrestrained is good.
This section is taken from the Dark Autumn chapter of the book, Return To Your Natural Colours.
- One very light colour + one medium-dark to dark colour + one medium to dark colour as accent
- Two medium-dark to dark colours (or neutral colours) that are different
- One light, medium, or dark neutral + one dark, medium, or light neutral + one colour as accent
- One medium-dark to dark colour + one light, medium, or dark colour + one colour as accent
- Little use of complementary colours, in small areas only
- Overall medium-dark to dark effect
What that looked like in my head:
Dark and cool recede. Here, with dark and warm, a push/pull visual effect is created that adds tension (Winter’s complications) and interest.
If you think about it, you can see some clearing and cooling. Previous fluidity is beginning to set and stiffen. We have to add in the person, her warm chestnut to warm black hair, perhaps her faint red highlights, her bronzer and flesh-tone eyeshadow surrounding her dark chocolate eyes, spiced peach lips, deeply coloured stones in warm, golden settings, the purse and shoes, to fully appreciate the dark warmth. The viewer has a lot of colour to integrate.
Icy, cold colours make sense frosted. Muted colours don’t. Muted colours are gentle and calm, not metallic. Dark Autumn colours are barely muted, so gentle gets replaced with assertive and maybe even a little pushy. Sometimes, we worry that dark=power and light=weak, which may be true in dictionaries but it’s not how others see us. What others see is probably dark=force and light=ease (but not pushover). Dark Autumn colours wears metallic well in their warmest clothing and cosmetic colours since they convey the heat that smelts metal from ore. Metallics in their colder range are less successful.
Was your first thought when you saw the Polyvore, “I was expecting tribal and spicy. This looks pretty normal.”? It has to be normal enough to wear to the office. Try putting it on a light, sunny blonde and suddenly, if it’s not spicy, it’s at least truly weird. She’d look like she decided to wrap herself in a Bedouin tent. Your personal power is among the wonders of this world but it only works for you, and hers for her. Power fizzles like a wet match when you try on someone else’s.
So, you know your Season, you’ve been buying the right colours in clothes, is there another step? Always. Combining your colours in absolutely stunning combinations is another level. I am thankful to Stephanie, source of so many awareness expanders, for introducing me to Shigenobu Kobayashi’s books. In his Color, Image, Scale, he takes a big selection of colours and shows you twelve truly gorgeous 3-colour combinations with each one. Isn’t it interesting how 3 and 4 in the graphic above feel very different, beyond just temperature, simply from the change in accessory colour?
Whatever your Season, unless you’re incredibly creative, I doubt you’d come up with some of Kobayashi’s pairings on your own. I assure you that I wouldn’t. For Dark Autumn’s most striking use of complementary colours, insert a complement between two similiar rich colours in your palette. It looks fantastically good. The split complementary colour scheme is worth getting to know too. You pick three similar colours (analogous, colour wheel neighbors) and then add the complement of the middle one. It is worth scanning your colour analysis swatch book into a computer, or a photo of it, and using a computer program (Google it, there are many) to give you the complements, finding them in your Book, and writing the pairs on the back. Getting the complements exactly right sets up much more vibration than guessing and only being close.
Many Dark Autumns are darker than Halle Berry. How about this woman, wearing Dark Autumn’s version of white? From the clean whites in her face, you’d swear she must be wearing white, but white will grey her. It takes this colour to do what white does on a Winter face. How cool is that?
A straight body, straight across the shoulders, they walk stiff and straight, not Summer’s rolling walk or Spring’s sashay. Rectangular body, linear. Similar lines in the clothes.
Comfort colours, which are often food colours, are staying in True Autumn. Dark Autumn is wild and hot and passionate > red, of course. All the reds and oranges work. Complements also raise energy, with great opportunity to use them in dark and mysterious ways, as dark olive and burnt orange/red orange/browns (dark orange).
Something about dark grey can be very warm – as Bobbi Brown was thinking when she named her eyeshadow Hot Stone. MAC Copperplate eyeshadow is a heavy good grey for Dark Autumn. I used a dark grey blouse to cool the leopard skirt. A big thick grey block can be too heavy and stuck. Add a necklace, a jacket, the coolest bag and watch, maybe the leopard skirt. Give the eye somewhere else to go. Take care with animal prints. Buy the suitcase set or the wallet. Animal prints are like leather pants, they can work against you all too easily.
Jeans are good. Keep them dark without a whole lot of orange stitching.
Winter brings red and more black. Some of its blue is cooling the colours but you’re not seeing it as blueness yet.
The colour of Eva’s dress isn’t dark per se. For a light colour, it’s dark though. It has weight, substance, density, and naturalness. Maybe the colour is a little warmish and would suit a True Autumn more perfectly, but I give it to her anyhow for daring to be different so successfully. See how Alba’s above is a little cooler, a little glitzier, perhaps less burlap? The whites of Eva’s eyes aren’t quite as clear. Who cares, Eva took a step towards Eva and away from cookie cutter.
Eva Longoria Pictures
Colour is one half of a most beautiful appearance. Style is the other half. In the late 80s, David Kibbe wrote a book called Metamorphosis. He outlines 13 body types and goes into great detail about every aspect of appearance pertaining to that body type. Like Sci\ART’s 12 Tone Season system, Kibbe’s is a logic system that works for me without being overwhelming or impractical. Yes, it takes time to understand and implement but when it’s right, the result is incredible. Geometry comes out of the features of your face like colours do when your palette is right. The book is so good that we talk about it a lot in our Facebook group. The next section may seem confusing without having read it.
The Dark Autumns I have met have been some type of N, C, and interestingly twice, G. They look like they have black in the way that they look like they have drama but they are more square than angular and sharp. The clothes and fabrics above are all structured because I have those women in my head when I select clothes.
I ask myself, what does a Theatrical Romantic Dark Autumn wear? I searched and searched and found one I liked. Those who read RTYNC know that for me, certain colours make sense in shapes that evoke feelings and patterns we are familiar with from Nature. Of course, there are as many versions as there are women. We all own more than one cookbook. None of us owns a cookbook from which we make every recipe, even from the very rare book where we tried them all. All I’m saying is that colour is more than just colour, the same colour on me and on you looks and feels totally different to the audience, and we all have a different idea of what looks good.
I looked at that dress (off shoulder, center, bottom row) for a long time wondering if something so filmy makes sense in a food and earth colour. How do you feel about it?
Einstein said “Imagination is better than Knowledge.” Turns out it takes a lot more imagination to be yourself than to be someone else. I love about Kib and colour that both only want you to stay true to who you were meant to be because you’re already her. You really can’t not be her, ever. Your roots grew a tree that is perfect and like no other. Forget cookie-cutter. Forget “I must be blonde or size 6.” If you’re clinging to those, you’re probably neither and people can see that. Why force your opposites to fit you? Knowledge of your colours and the essence of your body type is where you start. Trust the process of finding them. From there, imagination lets you interpret what hangs from your branches infinitely, always holding the truth of your tree. Renata chose the very adept words ‘emotionally grounded’ to describe how knowing your colours and your style feels. So right.