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The Art of Color-Blocking

By Sanjana Chakraborty


The black and white combination is the most timeless color pairing in fashion. There's no end to the ways you can wear this combo but imagine a world without colors, a world in which wherever you see it’s all monochromatic. People wearing the same colors, black and white clothes everyday, like a paper town or a newspaper came alive. Seems fascinating, huh? But once our eyes will get used to it, it will be nothing more than us looking like a bunch of Dalmatians heading to work daily, well for me it seems the same. So to segregate us from the category of the four paws and help us bring out our own unique human identities without pronouncing a word, the Fashion world introduces us to the world of colors. Thanks to the Dutch painter 'Piet Mondrian' for inspiring fashion gurus to become more playful with the outfits to match our evergreen moods.

// Fashionfootwear

Color Blocking is the process in which blocks of two or three different hues that are considered as loud colors or colors that clash with each other threaded together to make an outfit complementing and appealing. Usually while sewing a color blocked outfit, colors that are contrasting or situated on the opposite side of the color wheel are mixed and matched together. However, it is not necessary to use contrasting color strictly. Shades that are not placed directly opposite on the color wheel can also create an exceptional color blocked outfit. Some of the great pairs include; turmeric yellow paired with fuchsia or turquoise/teal with a tangy tint and if still the inner painter in you is confused you can always pair up different shades of a single color.

// Vogue Australia

Resources depict that Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter from the 1900's who always valued simplicity in his painting collection of stark lines and flat squares whilst maintaining recognizable yet abstract geometric shapes is the inspiration behind this colorful trend. He coined his style of art as Neoplasticism setting forth the modern art movement in which his art directly inspired the fashion world along with home décor and baked goods.

Mondrian’s art also inspired fashion designers like late Yves Saint Laurent who adopted this revolutionary aesthetic and realized that the dress planarity will be an ideal field for color blocks for achieving the artistic sensibility of his time making it roar in the 60’s fashion trend. Earlier in London when people wore color blocked outfits it was considered as a sign of superior class and wealth by the elders. The youth of London then started wearing ensembles coined as the mod fashion resembling the artsy style of Piet Mondrian mismatched with solid color separates that were composed of different hue blocks.

// Flashbak

Color blocking is best opted using simple and bold designs strategically placed to create classic vogue statements as busy descriptive patterns would require more junction making it an intricate method.

The iconic piece of late Yves Saint Laurent showcases blue, red, and yellow squares and bold black lines in his Fall/Winter show in 1946.

// Yves Saint Laurent

In the 1950’s also known as the golden decade of television, color blocking revolved around muted colors, classic cuts and structural shapes to bring out modesty at its best.

// Blogspot

In the 1960's color blocking took a slight turn from a vertical white block on a black dress to bi-color dress which was usually composed of contrasting colors or same colors of different shade cards.

// Tumblr

The 1970’s fashion leaned more towards the gypsy spirited to fit in the hippie vibe of the decade. Frisky colors were used to define the waist and accentuate necklines along with pairing up multiple colors with floral prints and geo styles.

// Alice & Olivia Spring 2020

In the classic 1980's, the color blocking fashion jammed up with neon hues, metallic sheens and overemphasized shapes consisting high slits, color blocked arms, oversized sleeves with an opalescent body to keep up with the swanky vibe of the decade.

// Wordpress Blog

While the millennial’s period (1990's) rolled in and broke the extreme previous decade fashion code with acid washed ripped jeans chanting grunge’s name, muting the popular colors and toning down the silhouettes before advancing towards solid color blocked geometric forms.

// Retrowaste

The vintage traditional color blocking styles is always a plus to rely on when you can’t decide upon which colors to pair up. I will enlighten you all more about the basics and styling in my next article to help you flaunt that inner sassy artist in you to the world, till then take good care of yourself and have a colorful week ahead.

Stay Golden,


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