Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is Periwinkle The Perfect Blue?

It's a tough discussion, the Blue Debate. I mean, how do you possibly choose the perfect blue?

There's the sophisticated, dignified, thoroughly distinguished blue that is navy. (Which I have always had a soft spot for. And I suspect half of Paris does too, judging by their wardrobes.) There's the rich glamour of royal blue. There's the crisp smartness of French blue, which always reminds me of dress shirts and school uniforms. And finally, there's the soft elegance of periwinkle blue; a blue that's so quietly beautiful, it makes all other blues look flashy by comparison.

Some people think periwinkle blue is simply a pale, watered-down blue, but it actually has a hint of mauve swirled through it. It's a delicate blue and it can be difficult to do. If the paint is tinted too dark it can turn out to be lavender. Too light and it fades to a wishy-washy shade.

It can also be difficult to decorate with, or dress in. Many designers and decorators suggest using it as a dominant feature, which shows off its loveliness, rather than hiding it behind another principal colour such as white. Personally, I love seeing it with a sweep of glossy black; a colour combination that's unexpectedly glamorous and surprisingly sexy.

However you feel about periwinkle (or plumbago, porcelain, sky blue, or whatever else you want to call it), one thing seems certain: it's sneaking its way into the fashion and design worlds. Just look at how much of it was in Chanel's Spring-Summer 2012 show. In fact, many people think that pale blue, and its equally delicate and elegant cousin pale turquoise, could be the colour(s) to watch in 2012 and 2013. {Above image via the inimitable Rodney Smith.}

"It's an ahhh colour! Completely uplifting!"  
– Designer Jamie Drake on pale blue

The new Mondrian SoHo hotel, in New York, a poem to periwinkle. {Via Mondrian and Hotel Chatter}

Chanel's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2012 show, which was more or less a tribute to the prettiest, palest shades of blue. {Via Chanel}

The Hotel Ferrero in Valencia Spain, which is owned by Spanish tennis champ Juan Carlos Ferrero. Look at that blue. It's so unusual for a hotel facade, isn't it? But so perfect for the elegant architecture, the petite size and the gorgeous, glorious, sun-kissed Spanish setting. {Via}

Pale blue in a French-style interior. I've misplaced the credits for these images and I wish I hadn't because I adore this space. Look at the silk-taffeta drapes, the high-gloss floor, the stunning armoire... If you know whose home this is, please do let me know so I can credit accordingly.

My old apartment in South Yarra. The stripes on the walls were painted in Porter's Paints' Nebular blue (low sheen and pearl gloss), which gave the tiny space the feel of a French salon. (Curiously, it also made the space seem larger.) Oh, how I loved this blue! I'd love to do another apartment in the same colour palette.

JK Place hotel in Florence. I never tire of staring at this beautifully designed space. In this image, the blue looks more turquoise, but in real life it's a pale blue. And while not strictly periwinkle, it's very much in the same family of pale blue hues.

My favourite Jonathan Adler sofa. In fact, this could be my favourite sofa ever. Look at those sexy lines. Doesn't it make you want to pour a martini or a gin and tonic, slip into a white silk dressing gown and spend an entire evening watching episode after episode of Mad Men? {Via}

A few of the spectacular pieces from Oscar de la Renta's recent collection. Oh, Oscar. You do know how to do a magnificent blue! {Via Vogue and Dustjacket Attic}

Chanel's alluring blue nail lacquer, highlighted at the recent Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2012 show. {Via Chanel}

The Kelly Wearstler-designed restaurant, BG, at the top of Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York. This is one of my favourite restaurants in New York. The views up Fifth Avenue and across Central Park are as sublime as the interior. {Via Apartment Therapy and Carlos Melia}

The Hotel de Vendôme in Paris. Flashy, but still fabulous. {Via Vendôme}

A print of Lulu Guiness's London home by the talented Anne Harwell of Annechovie. {}

And more inspirations...


  1. My goodness. That is one very big collection. LoVED the French room with the blue walls and silk curtains. Woildnt mind the nail polish either. Fiona

  2. That's a really beautiful shade I would never have know what to call it. I'm really drawn to blues and greens just now, I have neither in my wardrobe but hope to change that soon!

  3. What a beautiful shade of blue and that room with the shiny black floor, oh divine.

  4. Now blue is a colour I love!
    As for that beautiful job for Saturday is to cut it right back so people can actually walk past our house!!!! Third time I have had to do it this year takes all day and no flowers...two days later they are all back! Amazing!!! Julienne xx

  5. First came across this color on a periwinkle shell at the beach, Corpus Christi, TX. Age 5. Noticing how it looked wet vs dry too.

    Been trying to see it, just-like-that ever since. Maybe it was my first color epiphany.

    OMG the BG restaurant.

    XO T

  6. One of my favourite colours, beautiful on the catwalk, and stunning interiors.

  7. The perfect blue - well chosen ! since we're on blue, you might be interested to see the blue bedroom I posted yesterday on (I'm brand new to blogging...)

  8. I do love a hotel that's brave enough to take a risk, eschew the neutrals & give a good Designer free rein. Bravo to the Mondrian, I'd be happy to put my tired head down on their pillows any day.
    Millie xx

  9. Swooning in Hobart, Janelle! What feast for the eyes - thankyou, my friend. You've made my evening. J x


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