Neutral Ground: Charlotte Stone

Neutral Ground is a casual, weekly interview series with friends in the industry. Say... conversational breakdowns of what neutrals mean, and what that means when it's time to get dressed. Tune in each Wednesday to see who's who and how creatives of all stripes view the world, color not included.

A native of Kingston Ontario, Charlotte Stone grew up in a family of graphic artists and interior designers and decided to become a shoe designer while still in her teens. She graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles, honed her skills with footwear factories in Italy, and has worked in her chosen métier ever since. She is also an avid surfer and weaver and co-designs, with her husband, a line of modernist hand-crocheted lounge chairs and furniture called Pacific Wonderland Inc.

A native of Kingston Ontario, Charlotte Stone grew up in a family of graphic artists and interior designers and decided to become a shoe designer while still in her teens. She graduated from FIDM in Los Angeles, honed her skills with footwear factories in Italy, and has worked in her chosen métier ever since. She is also an avid surfer and weaver and co-designs, with her husband, a line of modernist hand-crocheted lounge chairs and furniture called Pacific Wonderland Inc.

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NT- What are you wearing right now?

This morning I was wearing vintage levis, a cream linen T-shirt and cognac sandals.  Now, I'm wearing denim cut-offs 'cause its blazing hot here.

 

NT- What Color [or two] do you own the most of within your wardrobe?

My closet is packed full of pattern and colour, but what I wear most is black and denim.

 

NT- How do you approach neutrals when dressing?

I'm always drawn to colour and pattern/print, so I try to balance out those elements with neutrals.  Denim jeans, black blazers, heather grey t-shirts; those are my basics that I mix in with everything.  

 

NT- In your opinion- IS there a difference between Neutral Colors within the wardrobe, vs. say...Art & Object Coloration?

For me, my taste in clothing is not as adventurous as my taste in art. In art and object, I'm drawn to bright, moving, clashing, vibrating pieces, but I wouldn't wear something like that necessarily. I think it depends on taste and mood and context.

 

NT- In the context of dressing only in neutrals, what roll and rules must Accessories & jewelry play by?

I don't like to think about rules for accessories. I think its all in the balance; the highs and lows. But accessories is where footwear comes in and for me, its all about shoes. If you keep it all neutral up top, you can go wild with shoes.

 

NT- Prints seem to generating a lot of controversy, are prints neutral? Is neutral defined only by color or does pattern have bearing too?

Prints can be neutral. Like classic gingham shirting or leopard? Colour will definitely come into play here too though; multi coloured gingham or dot pattern is not the same as simple black and cream, but again its all about the context.

CTIF: The Oldest Artificial Color

...is Egyptian blue. First developed around 2500 BCE, which we know only because the sand, lime and copper mixture luminesces under ultraviolet radiation. What's left of Egyptian blue that's THAT old, in other words, doesn't look blue anymore. When you shine a red light on the remains of the compound,  though, and view through a UV-sensitive lens, it still glows blue.  

Image via the British Museum. 

Image via the British Museum. 

Neutral Ground: Bliss & Mischief's Hillary Justin

Neutral Ground is a casual, weekly interview series with friends in the industry. Say... conversational breakdowns of what neutrals mean, and what that means when it's time to get dressed. Tune in each Wednesday to see who's who and how creatives of all stripes view the world, color not included.

The peach skin shades of a love worn camp blanket…a few yards of deep indigo mud cloth, faded by 80 years of African sun…the swans down softness of a 1970s vintage white tee…the textured sensuality of a Japanese Boro kimono…Uncle Phil down in NOLA, struttin’ his stuff in funk and flash chain-stitch Western wear - these were the building blocks for the birth of Bliss And Mischief. Hillary Justin combines her longtime design experience [10 years] with her eye for vintage and draws from a long list of personal inspirations for each piece. The idea of creating something that is special and limited is important to BAM and Justin... which makes this gal totally up NT's alley.

The peach skin shades of a love worn camp blanket…a few yards of deep indigo mud cloth, faded by 80 years of African sun…the swans down softness of a 1970s vintage white tee…the textured sensuality of a Japanese Boro kimono…Uncle Phil down in NOLA, struttin’ his stuff in funk and flash chain-stitch Western wear - these were the building blocks for the birth of Bliss And Mischief. Hillary Justin combines her longtime design experience [10 years] with her eye for vintage and draws from a long list of personal inspirations for each piece. The idea of creating something that is special and limited is important to BAM and Justin... which makes this gal totally up NT's alley.

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NT- What are you wearing right now?

HJ- Tie-dyed Raquel Allegra tee in shades of charcoal and grey, vintage Levis 501s (shocker!), black suede Birkenstocks, vintage silver and brass cuffs, and grey diamond/gold Santi Rom earrings.

 

NT- What color [or two] do you own the most of, within your wardrobe?

HJ- blue (mostly in the form of denim), and shades of cream to white

 

NT- How do you approach neutrals when dressing?

HJ- For me neutrals balance things out. For example, I can approach what I would consider a bolder look like head to toe color but when done in shades of cream, it feels softer. Or if I am wearing a large floral print vintage kimono or a recent favorite, printed harem pants, I like the prints to have a neutral ground color. And I usually pair them with denim.

 

NT- In your opinion - IS there a difference between neutral colors within the wardrobe, versus, say... what "neutral" means for art, or for objects?  

HJ- Yeah I think so, just all black versus all white gives off a different feeling. I also like to think about how proportion and material play into it as well. The balance of sweet or tough, feminine or masculine, minimal vs ornate... all those play into the connotation that one is trying to embody on any given day. Picture an oversize well-worn black leather moto jacket vs the same silhouette more fitted and cropped in ivory wool (both of which would be rad by the way!)

 

NT- In the context of dressing only in neutrals, what rules must accessories and jewelry play by?

HJ- My mind first goes to sticking to natural materials.. silver, gold, ivory bone. Then I can imagine that even colored stones used in smaller doses paired with a neutral outfit still work as neutral. I'm picturing a linen colored linen dress worn with a blue topaz pendent on a long leather cord... somehow that still feels neutral to me even with the pop of color. I think I associate neutral with natural on some level.

 

NT- Prints seem to generating a lot of controversy: are prints neutral? Is neutral defined only by color, or does pattern have bearing too?

HJ- There is something about a tonal pattern, even if the print is bold, that feels more neutral to me than, say, a black and white print because of the contrast. With the embroideries I'm doing right now, I wanted them to be a little more tonal than traditional western wear that often used really bold color combos. I think that makes wearing a bold motif (like a pair of vtg jeans that are a 1/4 covered in chainstitched roses) more wearable for everyday.

Neutral Ground: Lynne Hiriak of Cardigan NY

Neutral Ground is a casual, weekly interview series with friends in the industry. Say... conversational breakdowns of what neutrals mean, and what that means when it's time to get dressed. Tune in each Wednesday to see who's who and how creatives of all stripes see the world when color is not included.

CARDIGAN NEW YORK is a contemporary collection driven by designer, Lynne Hiriak's, love of cardigans. Her personal collection hovers around 200 pieces. "My evolving personal collection of cardigans confirms that no matter how many of them I have, I can always justify one more. My relationship with the cardigan dates back to high school where my uniform consisted of a cardigan in navy or yellow every single day." Although CARDIGAN NEW YORK has evolved from knitwear into a comprehensive ready to wear collection, the brand continues to be inspired by the ease, utility and essence of the well-loved cardigan.

CARDIGAN NEW YORK is a contemporary collection driven by designer, Lynne Hiriak's, love of cardigans. Her personal collection hovers around 200 pieces. "My evolving personal collection of cardigans confirms that no matter how many of them I have, I can always justify one more. My relationship with the cardigan dates back to high school where my uniform consisted of a cardigan in navy or yellow every single day."

Although CARDIGAN NEW YORK has evolved from knitwear into a comprehensive ready to wear collection, the brand continues to be inspired by the ease, utility and essence of the well-loved cardigan.

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NT- What are you wearing right now?

LH- A Japanese cotton dress that I bought in Florence, Italy. It’s a classic blue and white mens shirting striped pattern shirt dress with patchwork mens’ shirt stripings and polka dots. The silhouette is oversized. I love it because the fabrication is quite neutral, but the patchwork part and the oversized silhouette makes it modern and interesting. It’s my favorite dress of the moment. 

 

NT- What Color [or two] do you own the most of within your wardrobe?

LH-That’s very easy. Navy and Grey Melange. 

 

NT- How do you approach neutrals when dressing? (some of this was addressed in previous question)

LH- I’m a big neutral wearer. I will have multiple shades of the same neutrals in the same pant, or shoe, or sweater. For example, I have a cream cord and a white cord. I have several shades of olive cords, and definitely several shades of navy cords. I will buy the same shoe in different shades of leather if available. It’s possible I will have shades of black, chocolate and sand in the same shoe. I am not a big wearer of black but I will wear it with white, in stripes, and I do believe in a black dress. I happen to look better in Navy (navy is more flattering for my face, and looks better with colors) I tend to wear a lot of color, so I use a lot of navy, denim and white as my ground for color. I don’t wear much brown or tan but I do for sure in my shoes. My approach to clothing with neutrals is different than my approach to neutrals in accessories. The neutrals range for clothing is different for me than with accessories. My neutrals in clothes are mainly denim, navy, white and grey heather. While my neutrals in accessories are chocolate, beige, tan and black. this summer I’ve been into chambray and denim so I’ve been wearing a lot of denim looks pulled together with white or navy. 

 

NT- In your opinion- IS there a difference between Neutral Colors within the wardrobe, vs. say...Art & Object Coloration? 

LH- This may be an odd answer and it’s completely a personal opinion, but Yes I think there is. I think there are more taste rules with wardrobe because of individuals shape, complexion and comfort level. Clothing and outfits can clash and not be an effective tool of expression. Not everyone is interested in expressing themselves through clothing. Art and Object Coloration is more subjective as generally it is not a living breathing human (I say generally because I’m not including performance artist here) and can also be influenced by outside effects such as placement, lighting etc.... If art and object coloration clashes, it can be an interesting dialogue or the point of conversation as art and object coloration are generally forms of expression. 

 

NT- In the context of dressing only in neutrals, what roll and rules must accessories & jewelry play by? 

LH-Ah, I addressed it a little bit above, but I make more exceptions with accessories. Currently, I have a green leather smythson bag which has been my bag of choice this summer, and I pretty much make sure I am wearing only neutrals to support my bag color. I generally think a cordovan or tan leather sandal is a must and I am actually a strong believer that a matching neutral bag and shoe will pull any odd look, however, I do love a great orange leather sandal to pick up an all navy outfit. I also wear less conservative bags but they’re in a neutral color. When it comes to Jewelry, I go wild and I have no rules on that front except I don’t layer on the jewelry but I choose great pieces that stand out. Gold and silver come into play by being neutral accents in jewelry. I love to wear a lot of crystal jewelry so neutral metals are key for me to be a foil for the crystalline colors. 

 

NT- Prints seem to generating a lot of controversy, are prints neutral? Is neutral defined only by color or does pattern have bearing too? 

LH- As a print lover, I believe that patterns can also be neutral. It’s best if they’re classic and it’s best if they’re in classic colors. A saint james striped boat tee is a classic neutral. And so is a mens indigo polka dot shirting or tie. A paisley scarf can be neutral, and so is a classic seersucker pant. Ginghams can be neutral and so can some plaids. It just depends on the context of the garment. A yellow striped tee is no longer neutral, but a navy and white striped tee is.