Are you a Midnight, a Sunlight or, perhaps, a lucky Horizon?
In addition to big hair, big shoulders and other larger-than-life trends of the big '80s, there was color analysis. Remember power shoppers running around making such enthusiastic and dramatic pronouncements as "I'm a ___ (pick one: winter/spring/summer/autumn)," and then referencing a strict color chart before making their clothing and accessory purchases?
Beauty seminar with skin-care advice by Milana Agati and color analysis by Gillian Armour:
When: Noon Dec. 2
Place: Gillian Armour studio, 125 Merchant St., Suite 103 (between Fort Street Mall and Bishop Street)
Carole Jackson's book "Color Me Beautiful," released in 1987, fueled the craze as women found they did need help sorting through a rainbow of jewel tones and geometric block prints in bright, bold primary colors on store racks.
Such advice became obsolete during the 1990s, when wardrobes were reduced to a slip of a silhouette and a dark, monotonic palette of grays and black.
But as with all of fashion's cycles, color's return signals it's time to think about whether that teal or pink is working with you or against you.
"When you're wearing the right color, you look healthy," said image consultant Gillian Armour. "I have my clients hold up color swatches to their faces, and with the right color they look vibrant and alive. In the wrong color, you can really look ill."
Armour will be talking about color trends for spring 2006 and the Lumina system of color analysis during a free noon event Dec. 2 at her downtown studio.
Whereas Jackson's system divided individuals into eight color categories, which critics say are best suited to Caucasian skin coloring, the Lumina system, created by San Francisco-based image consultant Donna Fujii, is a multiethnic color system based on nine palettes ranging from the deep and cool tones of a Midnight to the warm tones of a Sunlight. In the middle is the Horizon, the rare individual who looks good in both warm and cool tones.
"It's particularly relevant in Hawaii where you have people who are hapa and just so diverse," says Armour, who recently received Lumina certification. "That's what was challenging me."
The dominance of tropical-print aloha wear adds to the difficulty. "They contain incredible combinations of warm and cool. It can be confusing, even to an expert," Armour said. "You see a lot more men making mistakes because guys just don't notice the effect of color on their face."
ARMOUR STARTED her retail fashion career as a teen, working at Liberty House. She earned a degree in fashion merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Los Angeles, becoming a buyer with I. Magnin, in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Her work took her to London, where for three years she was Fashions Manager at Dickens & Jones (a large department store chain). She started the department store chain Dickens & Jones' first personal shopping service.
She returned to the United States to learn more about the manufacturing side of fashion and held executive and managerial positions in San Francisco with Jessica McClintock, Fritzi and Byer California.
She's now at work on an eBook, which should be available soon on her Web site, www.gillianarmour.com, at $14.95. The eBook will address body challenges facing the Asian consumer, everything from short legs to no-butt syndrome, which might seem strange coming from a tall haole woman. But as she counters in her intro, "Body/shape issues are not race-based, they are universal. Correcting problem shapes through clothing camouflage is what I do; teaching others how is my goal."
Her downtown studio is like a giant walk-in closet featuring clothing, wigs, fashion magazines, fabric swatches and accessories that she uses to bring out her clients' best features. They include business professionals in need of polish as well as "women who are going through tremendous change: Either they've lost a lot of weight, are going through divorce or got an incredible promotion.
"A lot of men and women have self-esteem issues and don't realize how much confidence clothing can give them," she said. "We all know that when we look good we feel good. For a lot of people, it's possible to feel that all the time, not just occasionally."
She teaches how to use color, line, fit and proportion. "There are so many tricks in my magician's hat that can really teach people how to shine. It's all about looking good without plastic surgery."
Armour charges $175 for a 90-minute color consultation, in which clients take home a personal color fan featuring about 60 to 90 color swatches suited to their skin tone.
If you don't have the money to consult a professional, Armour said an easy way to determine whether a color is working for you is to simply look in the mirror.
"Hold a piece of clothing up to you and watch where your eyes go," Armour said. "If your eyes go straight to the color, it's wrong for you, but if it's the right color, your eyes immediately go to your face. It happens in a nanosecond."
Of course, as evidenced by the summer greens in abundance at Nordstrom Rack, colors come and go, and your best hues just might not be in style.
"That's why I tell people to build their wardrobes around classics and each season add a couple of trendy pieces that don't cost a lot of money," she said. "That way you can still be current without spending a lot of money on your wardrobe."