Symbolism du Monde: The Blue Dress

in Arts & Culture/Fashion by

Colors bear their own code of associations, conjuring certain perceptions in our mind and triggering a physiological reaction. One can argue that the way we wear certain colors is similar to the way writers use poetic devices – to represent emotions, sensations, and ideas that are otherwise hidden in our subconscious mind.

Blue

Blue is largely considered to be the most mysterious and deep of all colors; a synthesis of the heavens and of the abyss. This polarity was noticed and depicted by Goethe in his notable Theory of Colors. The German writer and thinker proclaimed that of all colors blue and yellow are the purest, with blue being on the negative side due to its contradiction between excitement and relaxation.

As we readily follow an agreeable object that flies from us, so we love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it.
– Goethe

blue object - Falchion

Such statements are all good and fancy, but how does this, you might be wondering, apply to fashion?

Wearing blue can symbolize a palate of emotions and perceptions – from seductive to tranquil, to romantic, to inward-focused, to sad (there is a reason why we  feel blue instead of, say, feel orange), and so forth.

Below are my four most preferred representations of blue, beautifully exhibited by Falchion’s fashion diva Mila Belcheva.

Photo by Plamena Mileva

Blue is Seductive and Sexy

Who said that seductive must be reserved predominantly for the color red? From a psychological perspective, wearing blue exhibits an inner security and confidence – and confidence is sexy. Blue is also the color of the throat chakra, known in Sanskrit as Vishuddha. Wearing blue stimulates the Vishuddha, allowing you to express yourself with ease and poise. And, if we agree with Howard (the one from The Big Bang Theory, of course) that “smart is the new sexy,” then what could be more seductive than a woman who knows how to express herself!

Photo by Plamena Mileva

Blue is Playful and Elusive

Think of the eternal Blaue Blume, the ultimate symbol of inspiration, desire, and beauty in the age of Romanticism; an embodiment of one’s spiritual striving for the immeasurable and the distant. From the novels of German romanticist Novalis to the poetry of Russian symbolist Alexander Blok, to contemporary cinema (David Lynch comes quickly to mind), the blue flower represents the irresistible and the dreamy—one that completely absorbs one’s senses; that calls for love and yet is ever-elusive and hard to reach. The game is on, ladies!

Photo by Plamena Mileva

Blue is Divine and Tranquil

Outside of the romantic and seductive, in ancient times blue represented the heavens and the heavenly. In Hinduism blue is the color of Krishna, the supreme Hindu deity. In China blue epitomizes healing and immortality. In the Buddhist pantheon, the Medicine Buddha is blue as well; a meditation on him results in reaching enlightenment and expansion of one’s healing powers. Dating back to the 15th century, the Virgin Mary was widely depicted in a blue cloak (a symbol of the heavens). Linking the color blue to the divine and tranquil, it comes as no surprise that many wear it nowadays to heighten spiritual contemplation or to channel their mystical allure.

Photo by Plamena Mileva

Blue is Internal, Dark, and Supernatural

Believe it or not, black is not the only hue to conjure up strong associations with the dark. A color of contradictions, blue constitutes not only the external and divine, but also the internal and abysmal. Insert here influential painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky, who claimed in his pioneering study Concerning the Spiritual in Art that blue has a particular “calling towards the deep, the inner, and the supernatural.”

Photo by Plamena Mileva

Speaking of deep, internal, and supernatural, I can’t help but mention the magnificent portrait of the fallen angel by Mikhail Vrubel. We see his 1890 Demon Seated afflicted by a deep and abiding passion for the Georgian girl Tamara. Resting atop a mountain, he glares with profound solitude and longing at the distant landscape, adorned in (surprise, surprise) blue.  Described by Vrubel himself as “a spirit, not so much evil as suffering and sorrowing,” his Demon can be viewed as the ultimate unpacking of the deepest layers of the human soul – always longing, always seeking, and as a result – always somewhat tormented and twisted. Which, incidentally, is precisely what the color blue  equates to as well.

Mikhail Vrubel, “Demon Seated.” The State Tretyakov Gallery

Pure and seductive, divine and demonic, light and twisted all at once – blue has it all. Paired with the appropriate shoes and accessories, you can make a statement after statement, day after day… All you need is attitude and the right blue dress to go with it.

Photo by Plamena Mileva

Next: Symbolism du Monde: the Black Dress.

Julieta Kaludova is the Creative Director and a contributing author at Falchion Publications, an award-winning essayist, a gatherer of uniqueness, and a collector of the exotic. In her writing Julieta often draws from the exciting experiences she has had over the years, including being a radio journalist, media and PR liaison, university instructor, translator, director of a political press centre, and stage performer. Her greatest source of inspiration, however, remains her curious little daughter.