Neale Whitaker lifts the mood with Gen Z yellow.
With good lighting and a fair wind, I can pass for Gen X, but Gen Z? I most definitely am not. And yet I’m embracing “Gen Z yellow”, the colour trend that’s ripping through the design world, with all the gusto of a millennial. Move over pink, you might just have met your Waterloo.
One of my favourite Instagrammers @aspoonfulofbenjamin recently posted a riot of bright yellow vases and vessels that I can only describe as glorious. If ever there was a mood-defining image, this was it. And take a look at the current collections of zeitgeisty brands like Copenhagen-based Muuto (available at livingedge.com.au) to see some of the zesty designs I’m craving. Like the Rest series sofa or the Unfold rubber pendant light – both in yellow, of course. The latter even comes in two colour choices most accurately expressed through mustards – hot English or Dijon.
Yet despite being the colour of spring, smiley emojis, optimism, enlightenment and heavenly Cire Trudon candles, yellow has a tricky reputation. It’s certainly not the easiest colour to wear. Years ago I owned an eye-wateringly expensive yellow silk shirt by ’80s uber-fashionista Katharine Hamnett. Magnificent as it undoubtedly was, I don’t recall it ever leaving my wardrobe. Ahead of my time? Whatever spin I put on it, the lesson learnt was that canary yellow/english complexion/british climate should never appear in the same sentence.
If millennial pink was a nod towards gender fluidity, then yellow’s appeal might be even simpler. A ray of sunshine in dark and troubled times. But if fashion designers have embraced every yellow in the spectrum, interior designers are slightly more cautious. A little goes a long way. Melbourne interior designer Fiona Parry-jones of Von Haus Design Studio finds yellow “energetic and encouraging a sense of fun or leap of faith”, adding that while she might prefer to wear mustard tones, it’s the brighter yellows that find their way into her work.
Another Melburnian designer, Chelsea Hing, veers in the opposite direction. “I tend to use golds, mustards or dirtier yellows for their timelessness and warmth,” she says. But on a personal level she admits that Rietveld’s classic Zig-zag chair in bright yellow “makes my heart skip a beat”.
As for me, I’m wondering how and where I can introduce a new favourite shade like Enterprise from the upcoming Taubmans 2018 lookbooks (taubmans. com.au). Feature wall, perhaps? Rest assured I won’t be wearing it. Neale Whitaker is editor-at-large of Vogue Living.
HELLO YELLOW (clockwise from top left) A feature wall in new Taubmans shade Enterprise brings a neutral bedroom to life; Sceg Architects utilised yellow accents when updating this apartment in Turin; the zesty Muuto Rest sofa by designers Anderssen &...