Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Unexpected Trend of Navy, Green & Grey

Have you ever seen Paris at twilight on a summer's night? A little after sunset, when the pink fades away, the sky deepens to a luminous navy blue. And against the grand, Dioresque-grey shades of the city's famous architecture, it looks incredibly beautiful, especially when you glimpse it through the tree-lined quays and boulevards.

Who would have thought navy, green and grey would look so distinguished as a design triptych?

I thought of this colour combination recently when we stayed in Boston's beautiful Back Bay neighbourhood for a few days. Surrounded by gracious parks, ivy-clad campuses, grassy quadrangles, preppy fashions and handsome Democrats (think of JFK), I couldn't help but think the place was an urban poem to the three tones. Indeed, navy, green and grey seemed to be the unofficial colours of this city. They were everywhere, from the peacoats and wool blazers (those classic collegiate staples), to the hotel lobbies and even the livery of the local Ralph Lauren store, above.

(Although it's perhaps not surprising: blue is a Democrat colour, Kelly green is a very Irish one and grey – well, that's an academic / ivy league shade from way back.)

Then I began noticing this dignified trio everywhere. (Louis Vuitton poster bought in SoHo.)

Including the Hamptons and New York. (Hydrangeas in full bloom in Gramercy Park.)

And down in Miami and the Keys. (Navy shutters on  the front of The Moorings's beach house.)

They soon became the prevailing colours of our trip. So much so, that we felt we should really buy some Kelly green and navy things to join the NGG Brigade. That's when I found this cute Webster dress at Target.

And these cuties at a Kate Spade outlet store. (Kate Spade's soft wool 'Beantown' Quinn bags, which were named after Boston and inspired by the peacoats.)

Now I've become so fond of navy, green and grey that I think I'd like to decorate our next house in these gracious, sophisticated shades. Navy on its own can be too sombre, but with Kelly green and Dior grey? It's fresh, elegant, and completely unexpected.

It will also remind me of our honeymoon.

Didn't I tell you I'd inject some romance into our home somehow?

 {Collage via Stoneblossom}

But it seems I'm not the only one to have noticed these distinctive shades.

In fact, now I'm beginning to think I'm quite possibly the last person in the world to have cottoned on to  the NGG Trend?  {Harper's Bazaar Editors' Picks from  August 2011. If these colours appeared in fashion late last year, you know it's only a matter of time before they filter down to interiors.]

Still. I'm hoping the colours are classic enough that they won't date anytime soon.

Just look at the beautiful Tricia Guild in her gorgeous London garden. {Photo by James Merrell}

Tricia is a big fan of the NGG combination. Every year, she includes these colours in her collections for Designers Guild. {Via Homes & Gardens}

Ralph Lauren is also a follower. His Paris store on Boulevard Saint-Germain is an ode to navy, green and grey.

Ralph likes the combination in his own residences too.  {Via Habitually Chic}

David Collins doesn't mind the NGG look either. {Image of his London terrace via Vogue}

Windsor Smith's converted too. {Via House Beautiful}

And Oscar de le Renta has even created a navy, green and grey garden inspired by the sophistication of these three shades. {Source unknown}

Here's some more inspiration, to persuade you to climb aboard the NGG train too!

Veronica Beard in Harper's Bazaar. {Via Habitually Chic}

Oscar de le Renta and Elie Saab. {Via StyleWithoutLimits}

Katie Holmes, who chose the combination when she stepped out (a free woman) in New York this week.

A snapshot of Tabitha's glamorous summer wardrobe from the always fabulous Bourbon and Pearls blog. {Via}

The Viceroy Santa Monica in LA, still one of my favourite hotels for interior design.

Designer Stuart Membery's home in Bali, and a piece from his collection. {Via Vogue Living and Stuart Membery}

Another gorgeous poolscape. Love the blue urns. {Via the book Litchfield Style, photographed by Tim Street-Porter}

An outdoor setting with a twist, styled by Megan Perry of Dorya. Megan found the faux grass chairs in Paris and covered them in Dedar's Poulette fabric. {Via Traditional Home}

The Charlotte Street Hotel in London. Look at those lampposts. And the striped grey awnings. {Via Firmdale Hotels}

Even the flowers match at Firmdale Hotels.

One of my favourite scenes of Paris; late summer in the Palais Royal gardens.

A parrot matches the NGG look perfectly, as seen in this Domayne ad, from House & Garden.

And some more NGG whimsy from House & Garden.

Fabrics by Quadrille, which give this living room a little Hollywood glamour. {Source unknown}

And a surprisingly pretty dining room dressed in navy and granny smith apple green. {Via House Beautiful}

Who would have thought a hall would look so dramatic in navy and green? {Via Homes & Gardens}

And another of my favourite vistas from the Palais Royal's gardens.

And even the Australian Women's Weekly has styled their latest issue with a nod to the colour combination... (BTW, I see former Vogue editor Kirstie Clements is writing a book about her years in magazines. Should make for interesting reading.)


  1. As always lovely pics. Isn't the park bench with the iron ivy in Gramercy park gorgeous? Did you have an epiphany re your colour choices? it looks endless what you can achieve with that trio. The more I look at your photos the more, I like, eg the pretty green and white floral fabric by Quadrille. Someone has to say it, those Spade bags are cute as a button aren't they ?

  2. Wow! You have my permission (for what its worth) to decorate with navy, green and grey!
    Just imagine having a drink on David Collins' terrace.

  3. What a magic combination for a warm climate, so cool and crisp! I am moving into Stuart Memberys home tomorrow!!!!!x

  4. Oh I've been wearing this combo a lot, I love the Charlotte St Hotel, Kit Kemp does excellent interiors.

  5. I just love that David Collins terrace. Anything that generous of size overlooking a rather nice private square in London is a winner, even before you add the colour combo. Beautiful photos, all of them.

    Agree with Tabitha too, I just love Kit Kemp's hotels.

  6. Oh Janelle. I am swooning. I am a lifelong fan of navy and green (especially Kelly). I'd never thought to pair it with grey. These photos are all so luscious! I could kiss your feet for sharing them. Off to pin them and dream how we could incorporate this combination into Planet Baby. You have given me delicious food for thought, Sweetheart! J x


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