The new black

Every once in a while you hear about some color being declared “the new black”. I think I’ve heard grey, brown, blue and pink so declared, but that list is probably not complete. Where do these declarations come from? Does anyone keep track of them? When they run out of other colors, will they declare black to be the new black?

I, for one, have no earthly idea what the heck you are talking about. :confused: [sup]but maybe its just me[/sup]

I would swear that we did this one before. But hard to search for.

Fashion magazines are the source of the term. I’ll try my newspaper databases to give you an idea of time frame. Back in a bit.

Whoa, dude! Are you prescient, or what?

Just searched and found an article from the NYTimes, 2001, by Penelope Green. Entitled…wait for it…
Black Is the New Black.

I just thought it’s bizarre than in Ancient Chinese the word for white was bhlak.

Wait a minute. What was the old black?

Is this about all those artsy types that wear all black?

Or what?

Hehe, I was flipping through a magazine in the drugstore yesterday that declared, “No worries ladies, this fall, black is the new black!”.

Well, he wouldn’t really be prescient if the article was published four years ago…

Merchandise-arily, blood is the new black.

Politically, pink is the new black.

And if you really want to go insane figuring out what the new black is, check this out.

The thing is, all the people who are proclaiming things to be the new black invariably are wearing black, because damned if they’re gonna wear periwinkle and chartreuse.

The first time I heard a variation of this phrase was in the movie Josie and the Pussycats, which in you haven’t seen it, satirized this type of fashion announcement. They had one of the characters saying somtehing like “orange is the new pink”.

The phrase is kinda a joke but color forecasting is an interesting topic. I watched a fascinating show on TLC or HGTV (called “The Color Czars” possibly) about the people who pick the upcoming “hot” colors for a season. I’d always wondered how some years everything (even household things like brooms) is deep jewel tones and the next year hot pinks and oranges are what’s in. It’s in manufacturer’s interest to coordinate the colors of their products so they don’t wind up the odd man out. Anyway, here’s the palette for Fall 2005.

For years I thought the phrase was made popular by the musical Funny Face, but now I’m not sure if the “Think Pink” campaign in the movie ever uses the phrase “pink is the new black.” It’s not in the lyrics to the “Think Pink” song, and I can’t remember if it’s in the spoken dialogue. Well, the concept is there at any rate, that a designer is declaring a certain color to be “the color” for the next season.

When you see it in fashion articles now, it’s an observation of what fashion critics saw on the runway at the launch shows. It used to refer more specifically to eveningwear, with the premise that black is generally the standard default for evening gowns, like a “when in doubt, go with black” thing. Now it’s used for all types of clothing, not just gowns. If the shows in a given season are using a lot of, say, pink, you’ll see the “pink is the new black” in the fashion pages. Everyone knows it’s a cliche, it’s just shorthand for "the designers are featuring a lot of pink in this year’s collections.

Sometimes, the color seems to catch on in a big way in the industry, and you really do feel like you see that color show up everywhere, from the carpet at the Academy Awards to the t-shirts sold at Target, and everything in between. Other times, after the big splash at the fashion shows and all the pronoucements that such and such color is the new black, it doesn’t turn out to have much of a impact at all.

Well, some of it comes from the Patsy Stone Clone fashion & beauty editor at my magazine (and, like Kay Thompson in Funny Face, “she wouldn’t be caught dead!”).

I consider it part of my job description to be the office Eve Arden (or Thelma Ritter, depending on how I look that day). So last month when a fashion piece breathlessly declared that “Gold is the new Beige!” I dropped the article onto Patsy’s desk and deadpanned, “Are you sure we should let the public in on this? There might be a panic.”

[P.S. In Civil Rights circles, “Gay is the new Black”]

Oh, girlfriend… haven’t you heard? “Declaring things to be the new pink” is the new “Declaring things to be the new black.” :cool:

Also: monkeys are the new robots, and pirates are the new ninjas.

Searching Google News for “black is the new black”,5744,15832229%5E38856,00.html

Black is the old cliché, baby!

Thanks delphica for that thorough answer. I hadn’t realized that it originally refered to evening gowns.

Doing a bit of googling, I find that green is the most common “new black” (8980 googlits), followed by pink (8540) red (6540) black (5880) and grey/gray (1130). But just about every color I tried (except periwinkle) had at least a couple hits. Of course, most of those were jokes, but then everything of the form “X is the new Y” is sort of a joke these days.

Maybe so, but straight seems to be the new gay…

OK, followup question: What’s the origin of the phrase? Who was the first to declare “X is the new black”? And what was the X they so declared?

You know, I always click your links…

It’s an oxymoron is what it is. Black is what it is because it is the default, the perpetual standby, the bedrock that remains solid while the whining breeze of fashion flitters round it.

A statement by fashionistas that some particular shade is the new black is a self defeating statement. If it’s new, it ain’t black.

Some use the statement with knowing irony, some trendoids seem to think it meaningful, which may well tell you something about them.

I want my baaaaaybeeee baaaaaack.

well someone had to say it

So…this Autumn we shall all be wearing nasty 70s wallpaper colours.
Or not.