Fuschia. Coral. Salmon. Blush. Rose. The many shades of pink. Long hi-jacked by toy makers to make little girls nice pink is now the official colour of police vans driven by police women patrolling the streets to make sure we’re safe. It’s a whole other discussion why women should be unsafe in the first place but while at first I wasn’t sure about “Barbie police vans” I’ve warmed to the idea of a new association, one that is powerful and assertive.
Studies have confirmed that pink has a relaxing effect on people and calms the nerves. Too much of it, on the other hand, can drive you nuts. Don’t try this at home. It does, however, signify good health: we say “in the pink” or “just rosy”.
I’m quite taken with pink these days, one of my favourite sights being packages of cotton candy floating beneath green canopies and right above the traffic. Any road rage immediately disappears. In design, it’s a winner: pink with dark blue, dark green, black, grey – all sophisticated combinations that up the décor ante of any space.
Universally accepted as a feminine colour I enjoy the sexy masculinity of pink. You have to be able to “pull off” pink. And only a very confident, sartorially savvy man could do it. In Japan, pink is a man’s colour – the annual blossoming of pink cherry trees (the Sakura) is said to represent the untimely falling of young Samurai – those fierce, disciplined warriors. In China though pink was an alien shade brought in by Westerners and the Chinese word for pink means: “foreign colour”. We are of course familiar with the pink cities: Jaipur and Marrakesh – their structures made of pink clay.
Politically, pink represents LGBT causes. It’s origins are disturbing. Nazi labeled homosexual prisoners with pink triangles, a symbol that has since been reclaimed to symbolize LGBT rights.
In 1947, Elsa Schiaperelli gave the world “shocking pink”, in less dramatic circles known as magenta. Sports teams often take the mojo out of opposing teams by painting their locker rooms pink – a ploy you’d think would be seen through by now. And here’s a bizarre one: male weightlifters seem to weaken exposed to the colour while women weightlifters become stronger.
And in other news, nothing to do with pink, Pantone has conferred the honour of getting a standardized custom shade of purple on the late, great pop star Prince inspired by his custom made Yamaha purple piano. Just saying.