Green of course!
Green is the most versatile colour on earth. Take nature for example, where it is the backdrop for absolutely everything. Not a single colour clashes with it. In fact, every colour in nature sits with it in perfect harmony. Apart from the fact that green is most definitely my favourite colour, it is the reason why it is the most important colour to me as an interior designer. You won’t find a single Rachel Bates interior design scheme that does not have an element of green within it, no matter how big or small.
You often find that when you build a scheme in two, three or four different colours, at the end there is something missing. If it is a design without green, then that is usually the missing secret ingredient. It may be that you introduce something as simple as fresh plants and flowers, to inject the necessary balance. You may add some vases, candles, table lamps, a cashmere throw, some preserved topiary trees or any manner of decorative accessories, just to create the balance. At the end of the day, no scheme is complete without an element of this unique hue. In your own homes you probably have a little green in each room without even realising it. So take a look around and see if you have. If you haven’t, add some for balance. You’ll find it completes your space. Green also creates a lovely, calming effect and projects a fresh feeling in any space where it is used.
My passion for green can be seen within the Rachel Bates paint collection. This has been designed in collaboration with The Little Greene Paint Company. The, "Jewel collection" encapsulates 10 glorious jewel like tones, all synonomous with the Rachel Bates look. Four colours out of the 10 are in fact green, Apple House, Rococo Green, Constance and Duffy. This is because you can never have enough tones and shades of green and in my view, it is the most important colour in the universe. When my paint collection grows and is extended to 20 or 30 colours you will most probably find that further shades of green are introduced to the palette.
The colour green, attributed as a relaxing colour that is pleasing to the eye, is said to have healing powers.
So what happens to your body in the presence of green? Your pituitary gland is stimulated. Your muscles are more relaxed and your blood histamine levels increase, which leads to a decrease in allergy symptoms and dilated blood vessels, aiding smoother muscle contractions. In short, green is calming, stress-relieving and paradoxically, invigorating. It has been shown to improve reading ability and creativity. Perhaps that is subconsciously why the Rachel Bates Interiors showroom is painted green. Maybe it is just because I love the colour more than any other.
Throughout history the colour green has represented various things.
It signifies balance, nature, spring, fertility and rebirth. It is the symbol of prosperity, freshness, progress and safety.
The colour green & fertility:
In Celtic myths the Green man was the God of fertility & in Pagan times there was a “Green Man” who was also a symbol of fertility.
Later in the millennium, early Christians banned green because it had been used in Pagan ceremonies.
Nevertheless, as shown by Van Eyck’s 15th Century wedding portrait, of ‘Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride’ (1434), the colour green was the best choice for the bride's gown in this Renaissance masterpiece because of the colour’s early symbolism as a sign of her fertility.
Green as a lucky, sacred & hopeful colour:
As the emblematic colour of Ireland, it is a lucky one. Green also represents the vast green hillsides, as well as Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. In Muslim countries, it is a holy and sacred colour. It was the colour of the heavens in the Ming Dynasty. Feng Shui claims that green eases absent-mindedness, nervousness and rudeness. Green was a sacred colour to the Egyptians, representing the hope and joy of Spring. The Japanese Emperor Hirohito's birthday is celebrated as, "Green Day" because he loved his garden. The Japanese also associate green with eternal life. In Portugal, green is the colour of hope because of its associations with spring.
Green attributed to Royalty & Class:
The colour and material used in Elizabethan Clothing was extremely important. The people who could wear the colour green was dictated by English Law. These were called the Sumptuary Laws. The colours of Elizabethan clothes, including the colour green, provided information about the status of the man or woman wearing them. This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing. The meaning of colours during the Elizabethan era represented many aspects of their life - the social, religious, biblical and Christian symbolism was reflected in the colour green. In Aztec culture, green was considered to be royal because it was the colour of the quetzal plumes used by the Aztec Chieftan's. Green was the favourite colour of George Washington, the first President of the United States.
Green as a mystical colour:
The colour signifies mystical or magical properties in the stories of King Arthur.
Green, the colour of alcohol:
Modern absinthe dates from 1792, when Dr. Pierre Ordinaire commercialised it as a cure-all. Then, Henri-Louis Pernod founded the Pernod Fils absinthe company in 1805, seeing its aperitif potential. Absinthe’s moment came with the 1840’s Algerian wars, when French soldiers drank it as a prophylactic against disease. They brought it home, and by the 1860s, Parisian cafes had established 5pm as “l’heure verte” – “the green hour.”
Green in Fashion:
In Scotland, people used to wear green as a mark of honour. In China, jade stones represent virtue and beauty and Thursday was the day for wearing green and emeralds for good luck. There is a superstition that sewing with green thread on the eve of a fashion show brings bad luck to the design house
There are so many meanings recorded for the colour green but quite simply, I love it because in all things, nature, fashion, design & interiors, it brings equilibrium. To me, it is the most important colour in the universe.
My parting advice, experiment with green, enjoy it's addition to your home and the difference it makes to both your environment and your wellbeing. Just don't drink too much of it in the form of Absinthe! Instead, I would wholehartedly recommend, you indulge in a beautiful chilled glass of Champagne Laurent-Perrier, sipped delicately from a stunning Rachel Bates, Lacecap Hydrangea, Champagne Coup. The Emerald colour crystal, obviously.