What is it about pastels?

What is it about pastels?

As soothing as they are, we're not talking about throat pastilles.

The COLOURS. They seem to fit into everything anywhere, to go with every outfit, with every painting, with every room scheme.

So here's the low-down on why they're been such a success story, and when they first came onto the scene...

What are pastels?

If we're being pedantic, they're technically tints, not colours in themselves. Other colours plus degrees of white. Better than colours!

But the magical thing about pastels is that they aren't lesser for being muted versions of their originals; they somehow retain jazziness and vibrancy whilst being soothing and calming. They're like people who are the life and soul of the party, but will notice if you're on your own in the corner and come and chat.

Who invented them?

Probably Mother Nature, but their first obvious and documented use was in art by Da Vinci and his Renaissance pals, followed by the frills and ruffles of Rococo fashion in 18th Century France. Madame de Pompadour's wardrobe was almost exclusively pastel-hued, as was Marie-Antoinette's. But by the time the Victorians were gadding about on beaches, pastels were no longer the preserve of aristocratic silk stockings and sashes, but signified middle-class leisure: think striped beach-huts and bathing suits, deckchairs and parasols.

How do we use them today?

Well they certainly still signify summer: rosé, peonies, pistachio ice cream, Positano, men in pink polo shirts, lemon tart, women in lemony-dresses and creamy blues, Cornwall, apricots. They mean joy, lightness, frivolity and optimism, so it makes sense that they're used in children's bedrooms, to cheer people up in hospitals, on summery tables and in fresh interior spaces. 

And why did Kalinko choose them?

Because they're the colourscape of Yangon! They're everywhere you look, in beautiful layers of cracked paint on every wall, pillar and house. So for us, they signify home, the people we surround ourselves with, the sounds and feelings of the city, the complexities of the history, the world we have chosen.


Yangon pastel walls 


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