Red becomes sophisticated in this fashion illustration by Aurore de la Morinerie. The combination of the ruffled, layered detail of the garment with the colour red makes the outfit look like a flourishing red rose. See this exquisite drawing at the Design Museum’s exhibition, Drawing Fashion now!
2. Axel Hoedt, Stadttier, Endingen, Fastnacht, Fashion Space Gallery
Axel Hoedt undertook a photographic project of Fastnacht, which translates as ‘the night before fasting’, a traditional carnival that takes place in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Fearsome and peculiar costumes are worn to scare away the spirits of the winter, in order to prepare for the spring and new harvest. Hoedt’s picture, Stadttier, Endingen, is a bright red half bull and half horse creature. The word, ‘Stadttier’, means ‘beast of the village’. Red is often a colour associated with danger, and this costume certainly terrifies the villagers.
3. Thomas Lawrence, Princess Sophia (1777-1848) 1825, oil on canvas, Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance, National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Lawrence’s portfolio of work strongly suggests that he loved using the powerful colour red in his paintings. His picture of Princess Sophia is just one of his impressive red paintings, with Princess Sophia’s blushing red cheeks, vivid red dress and headpiece and some lovely red curtains hanging in the background. Princess Sophia was the daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte. As an adult Sophia was prohibited from marriage and kept under a watchful eye. Despite this, it is believed that she had a number of affairs, and produced an illegitimate child. The colour red reflects her warm personality and her passion for luxury.
4. John Martin, The Great Day of his Wrath, 1851-3, Art and the Sublime, Tate Britain
John Martin’s The Great Day of Wrath shows red as a furiously angry and unsympathetic colour. The inspiration for this painting was taken from the Last Judgement in the final book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation. Dark, menacing clouds are highlighted by an ominous blood red light. The sun is a fiercely glowing red ball of aggressive energy. An incredibly atmospheric piece.
5. Showcard, 1930s, Nestlé, So Noble a Confection: Producing and Consuming Chocolate, 1600 – 2000, V&A Museum
Just to lighten the mood after the foreboding painting in number four, Nestlé makes red a lively and friendly colour with their attractive red showcard. Nestlé can thank its advertising campaigns as playing a huge contribution to its success as one of the biggest European chocolate manufacturers. The showcard clearly states in red and gold writing ‘We prefer Nestlé’s chocolate’, with golden wavy borders and an inviting red background, red becomes a fun colour once again.