The hue everyone's crazy about is known as Yves Klein blue, for the 20th-century French abstract artist who made it his signature. Klein was quite colorful himself: He "painted" canvases using naked women covered in pigment as "brushes" and, one day at the beach, scrawled his name in the air, deeming the sky his first work of art. "Klein was always looking to 'the far side of the infinite,' especially in his monochromes," says Leatrice Eiseman, head of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training near Seattle. "They struck a chord because people instinctively connect blue with the heavens."
Clockwise from top left: Pillow, Josef Frank for Just Scandinavian, $210. Scarf, Acne, $199. Purse, Nancy Gonzalez, $2,200. Pumps, Rachel Rachel Roy, $89. Leather journals, Graphic Image, starting at $70. Resin ring, Isharya, $123. Lapis ring, Bounkit, $385. Bangles, Afaze, $10 for set of three.
For artist and accessories designer Valeria McCulloch, 35, Yves Klein blue is nothing new—she's been wearing it faithfully for the past 15 years.
On Standing Out: "I make my life a creative outlet. Some find it fascinating; others tell me I'm cuckoo. That doesn't bother me. I love blue; it brings me joy. People wear black every day, but when you stick with a different color, the world wants to know why! Blue can be calming like the sea and dramatic like sapphires sparkling through the Cartier window."
On Living with Color: "For my home, it's not as easy—no matter how much I love a blue couch, it isn't going to look right in my living room. I go for touches of blue, like a rolling cart and glass tumblers."
On Total Devotion: "I never get bored. On the contrary, over time I feel more attached to blue. Some people challenge themselves by running marathons. I stay entertained by wearing one color—and blue is the one."
"Simply cut clothes with great detail have longevity," says McCulloch, whose favorite color says she is "a woman with personality who knows what she wants." This sleeveless shirt plus cropped silk pants are grounded by a navy felt coat—and elevated by a serious pair of platform pumps.
Shirt: Kaelen, $165. Silk pants: Tibi, $258. Coat: Zero + Maria Cornejo, $798. Pumps, Michael Antonio. Necklace, Rodrigo Otazu. Cuff, Malandrino.
ON THE SPOT
"Blue has been one of my favorite colors since I was a little girl," says Jessica Cordova, 24, a first-grade teacher. She was surprised by how much she loved pairing it with a high-waisted leopard-print skirt. "It's fun but mature. I could wear this outfit to work with flats and tights, or with heels for going out to dinner with my husband." The short knit cardigan provides an easy way to try out the hue—just swap it in for your standard black one.
Skirt: Tracy Reese, $278. Cardigan: Magaschoni, $254. Handbag, Marni. Earrings, Camilla Dietz Bergeron. Coat: Talbots, $249.
RHAPSODY IN BLUE
"We feel very secure looking at something blue, and this particular one has a luminous, intense quality that's really striking," says color expert Eiseman. "It's a shade you can rely on—it's not ambiguous. You're drawn into it, almost like you're seeing a light illuminated through it. It's magical, mystical, infinite, deep."
Clockwise from top left: Plate, Richard Ginori 1735, $30. Cup, LBK Studio, $40. Ring, Fantasy Jewelry Box, $47. Linen napkin, Bergdorf Goodman Collection, $36. Wallet, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, $98. Sunglasses, Persol, $310.
DRESSED TO IMPRESS
To Lisa Vickers, 50, owner of First Fit, a firm that helps companies size their clothing, the shape and shade of this dress are its strongest attributes. "I critique fit for a living, and I love how the dress looks. Color has power; it's a gift you give to the people around you," says Vickers. "A woman on the train once thanked me for wearing orange. She said it put her in a great mood to start her day." A monochromatic outfit is not only a cinch to pull off but "projects confidence," says Vickers.
Dress: American Living for JCPenney, $90. Bangles, Alexis Bittar. Clutch, Banana Republic. Shoes, Chanel.
Interior designer Christine Sacks, 32, wears suits from time to time for business meetings. "To me, they evoke purpose. I make them more feminine with a delicate camisole or blouse," like this silk bow-neck version. "The look is sassy without trying too hard," she says. Pairing variations on a color, like cobalt with blue-gray, is a sophisticated way of dressing. "Now I'm eager to try a more radical blue than my usual navy," says Sacks.
Suit: blazer, $650, pants, $425, both 3.1 Phillip Lim. Blouse: Hunter Dixon, $275. Cuff, Isharya. Clutch, Henri Bendel. Ring, Alexis Bittar. Pumps, Christian Louboutin.
According to Eiseman, Yves Klein blue is having a comeback because it speaks to a need for steadiness in an uncertain world. "The last time this color was so popular was at the turn of the millennium. We were optimistic but also a little uneasy, and ten years later, we're feeling that way again," she says.
Clockwise from left: Crystal wineglass: Wedgwood, $125. Service plate: Mottahedeh, $140. Dinner plate: Collection Nuages de Jean-Charles de Castelbajac by Deshoulieres Porcelaine de Limoges, $205 for four. Bauble necklace: Circa Sixty Three, $743. Patent leather flats: Kate Spade, $298. Stationery: Dempsey & Carroll, starting at $1,175 for 100 cards and envelopes. Lapis earrings: Irene Neuwirth, $2,310.
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