Pantone has crowned Emerald Green (Pantone 17- 564) the colour of the year. Conjuring up images of gems, dollar bills, the ’80s, and the Emerald City in “The Wizard of Oz, emerald is the colour of rejuvenation and new life. Green however, is not a common color in the fashion world, but there has been some stand out moments in fashion history that have required that we pay close attention as we update our wardrobes with the striking colour.
Scarlett O’Hara’s curtain dress designed by Plunkett comes to mind as one of the most iconic uses of green. Symbolic of Scarlett’s will to survive, the curtain dress was worn in three scenes (the jail scene in which she speaks to Rhett), walking through the Atlanta streets with Mammy and when Scarlett meets Frank Kennedy.
The dress was a moss green velvet and had to suit the colour of Vivien Leigh’s eyes, conform to Technicolor specifications as well as look like the sun faded draperies at Tara.
As Scarlett said “I’m going to Atlanta for that three hundred dollars, and I’ve got to go looking like a queen”.
Green became a wildly popular in the 1950s, not of course until the Jacqueline Bouvier brought the spotlight back to the colour after receiving a custom designed Van Cleef & Arpels engagement ring in 1953. The ring was a unique crossover design chosen by John Fitzgerald Kennedy featuring a 2.84 carat emerald and a 2.88 carat diamond with baguette cut diamond accents. That John Kennedy was a man of good taste.
Whilst on a break from shooting Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor took a stroll with Richard Burton to Bulgari (her favourite jeweller). Richard would buy Elizabeth many pieces of jewellery throughout their relationship; so much in fact Elizabeth would call it ‘It’s Tuesday, I love you’ jewellery. The necklace she decided upon that day (leaving behind another and bigger emerald necklace behind) was a piece set with a graduated series of sixteen rectangular-cut and square-cut emeralds, each within a circular-cut diamond surround, mounted in platinum. One of the emeralds would be classified as Classic Zimbabwe (Sandawana). A clear favourite of Elizabeth, she wore the set at several major events throughout her life.
The major style lesson learnt from the women who wore emerald throughout history is that:
A woman in green isn’t the jealous type. A woman in green knows she causes envy in others.