The dictionary defines purple as a colour that contains both red and blue. Now this is interesting, because red has a warm energy, and blue is cool. When they combine, the effect can be anything from exuberant to deeply calming.
The Interior Designer’s Purple
Deep or bright purples suggest richness.
Lighter purples are more romantic and delicate.
A redder purple makes for a warmer colour scheme, and a purple with more blue in it cools you down.
Deep aubergine purple + neutral tans or beige = an earthy, slightly mysterious feel.
Green + purple = a striking combination in deep or bright jewel tones. The same combination in cheerful, lighter shades creates a spring-like feel
Pink+ purple = very feminine!
Purple in a child’s or artist’s room kickstarts creativity.
A touch of purple in the kitchen will prevent you from overeating. Perhaps that’s why, French designer Christian Lacroix’s newest collection of china patterns and table linens for Christofle features shades of violet, gray and gold.
Deep purple on a single sofa or a cluster of cushions lends a dramatic effect. (Benefit: Studies show that people behave more elegantly in a purple setting.)
The Psychologist’s Purple
- The colour purple is believed to relax the body, lower blood pressure and decrease appetite.
- A little purple goes a long way. An overload if it can increase anxiety and deepen a low mood.
- Purple is a spiritually healing and purifying colour, aiding sleep and the development of psychic abilities. In the bedroom, it can have an erotic feel because it makes you feel royally relaxed.
Mother Nature’s Purple
Nature doesn’t have too much purple, but when it does bring it on, the beauty can be exquisite. Think lavender, violet, orchid, lilac. Purple’s sprinkled in the animal kingdom, too: search and you will find some breathtaking butterflies, beatles, starfish, bird species and even snakes!
According to an ancient Roman legend, in about 1500 B.C., Hercules was walking his sheepdog on the beach one day. After biting into a mollusk, the dog’s mouth turned an unusual color. This was the first source of purple dye for fabrics—a pigment called Tyrian purple. The process by which the colouring agent was extracted was difficult, labour-intensive and expensive. Generally, only kings and qeens could afford it. That’s how purple came to be associated with royalty.
In 1856, an 18-year-old chemistry student named William Perkin, working in his home lab, was trying to synthesize quinine, an antimalarial agent. One of his failed experiments produced a beautiful powdery residue, which when dissolved served as a lovely colourfast purple dye that we know as ‘mauve’. An instant hit, it now forms the basis of almost all fabric colouring.
Purple was a favorite of England’s Queen Victoria and Cleopatra.
There’s quite an enchanting variety out there: amethyst, sapphire, jasper, topaz, agate , garnet and many other beauties come in delicious purple hues. Wearing this colour is believed to make you more generous, creative, passionate and powerful.
A purple passage in a novel means ornate writing, full of exaggerated literary devices. More simply, poor writing! An example: “Nigel lifted his Mont Blanc pen and held it in brief repose as he gazed past the conflagrative crackling of the fire in the hearth, through the triple-plate bay window, watching the incandescence of the twinkling stars like the detonation of a million flashbulbs, and the preponderance of frothy snowflakes blanketing the earth as creamily as marshmallow fluff, then, refreshed and inspired, he began to compose his annual Christmas form letter…” Yikes!
The Colour Purple
In the iconic Steven Spielberg movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, purple suggests both pain and beauty. The lead character, Celie, is beaten until her face swells like an eggplant. And in another scene, she is walking through a field of purple flowers, when her friend Shug encourages her to embrace their beauty, acknowledge them ‘because God put them all here on earth.’