February is the month of red. Valentines Day, Chinese New year, and heart health month are all focused around this very particular color. Why is it so popular? What is its meaning behind each of the celebrations? How has the color impacted the fashion world as well?
Valentine’s Day is full of big red, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, stuffed bears with red and pink bows, and vibrant red roses. In the case of this holiday, red can be seen as a symbol of love and a way of expressing it. The holiday became big in the 1840s after the exchange of valentine cards and gifts began. Soon after, February 14th became a major consumer holiday. Today, over 20 million dollars is spent on Valentine’s Day alone. According to science, red has a psychological effect on our minds. It makes us appear to be more confident and happier. The color is also associated with beating hearts and the rushing of blood. When attraction occurs, chemical reactions take place, causing the heart to pump faster and our face to turn a rosy red.
The other holiday in February is Chinese New Year. There are two color of the Chinese New Year: Red and Gold. However, today we will focus on red only. It stands for happiness and good fortune in the forth coming year. One tradition is to place red signs or paint on doors and windows before the holiday takes place. Red also helps to scare away any spirits in the Chinese culture. So, they will have fire, which color symbol is red, and dress completely in red to keep the spirits away. It is also very common to pass out red envelopes, also called “Lai See”. They are given to young single individuals, employees, and children and filled with money of an even number. An even number is for good luck, but an odd number would signify a funeral, which would not quite a symbol of good luck.
The American Heart Association created an initiative called “Go Red for Women” in order to increase the awareness of heart health in women. With this movement, it is more than wearing red or learning about heart health. It is about women taking control of their life and health and creating an incentive for women everywhere to take their own life’s health into consideration. Why red? Well once again, red is often associated with the color of our beating heart.
Red has also made it in the heart of fashion everywhere. It is a sign of elegance and sophistication and is perhaps the largest used color in all of fashion and cinema. Unforgettable actresses like Elizabeth Taylor or Sophia Loren made it even more popular in the mid 20th century. It was even the favorite color of the ever so famous designer – Arnold Scaasi.
The Historic Clothing and Textile Collection here at Ohio State has several pieces within storage worthy of showcasing this February.
To the right a red Christian Dior wool tweed dress from 1961. Christian Dior talked about the color red. “A very energetic and beneficial color. It is the color of life. I love red and i think it suits almost every complexion. It is good for any time, too. There is definitely red for everyone.”
To the left is red polkda dot dress form 1953-1959. It is a silk shantung zip front dress with white circle dot and stiff non-woven underlying in full circle gored skirt.
Manoharan, Thulaise.(2016). Retrieved from www.herculture.com
Hoylen, Julie. Retrieved from www.sensationalcolor.com