Green has long been my favorite color, but more recently I have come to realize that chartreuse is my favorite shade of green. A bit unusual, but true: my spirit lifts when I see it or wear it (and I just counted 7 chartreuse cardigans in the closet, so apparently I wear it often). How can you beat a color named for a liqueur, the “elixir of life” made by French Carthusian monks from the early eighteenth century? Spring is the time for yellowy greens, and there’s quite a bit of chartreuse in the garden, even though the lady’s mantle has yet to bloom. Even the boring yews, hardly my favorite plants, have a chartreuse gloss at this time of year.
Chartreuse in my garden: yews, creeping jenny (also known as Lysimachia nummularia or moneywort), heuchera, and an artfully-placed bottle.
I’ve been a bit more restrained about using chartreuse in the house; in fact, there is no chartreuse in the house (except for the bottle, when I bring it back inside). But it might sneak in there; I have assembled an entire folder of chartreuse-colored housewares, as well as some tear sheets of interior chartreuse accents. It’s a strong color, obviously you have to be careful with it, but at the same time it seems to be somewhat neutral: is that possible?
Silver Chartreuse “bottle ticket”, early 19th century, Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Ranunculus Swirl Shade in chartreuse, Anthropologie; “Chartreuse” by Mary Heilman, 1988 and chartreuse chandelier by Dale Chihuly,1993, both photographed by Larry Qualls; Milanese melanine plates from House Beautiful ; a chartreuse wall and door from Canadian House and Home.
The use of color in fashion requires its own post, one I’m not quite up to, I think. Given its proximity to gold it must be a color of power, and one that is worn when you want to be in the spotlight: think of Nicole Kidman’s Oscar dress from more than a decade ago and the First Lady’s outfit from the last inauguration. Because it’s the absolute perfect shade of chartreuse (in my opinion), I did want to include this Charles James bodice of an evening gown, from 1951.
Charles James chartreuse velvet bodice, 1951 (Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
May 19th, 2012 at 8:07 am
On a car, I like a dark green so dark it’s black except in the direct sunlight.
May 19th, 2012 at 10:40 am
I love that lampshade and I also have to mention that i am a cardigan wearer too, but all mine are black! the colours in the garden are delightful! c
May 19th, 2012 at 11:29 am
Me too! Those fresh greens so typify the arrival of the new season’s growth maybe we have an inbuilt optmistic reaction to chartreuse, lime and acid greens! In interiors I love them with strawberry, or slightly pinky-reds (or pale aquamarine, as in the door photo) and in the garden setting off the cotinus, physostegia and berberis. My otherwise sober(ish) sitting room sports a chartreuse fluffy cushion I found irresistible!
May 20th, 2012 at 11:22 am
What a lovely tribute to green. Its also the color of the heart chakra.
May 20th, 2012 at 7:41 pm
Greens have long been a preference here, also.
Fashion is not one of the things that I know a lot about—but, I am always completely blown away by Charles James’s brilliance.
May 21st, 2012 at 5:31 am
Same here, on both counts, DD.
May 24th, 2012 at 8:35 pm
Being a red-head – I have always loved this color. I accessorize with it –
scarves, purses, I even have green amber. Thanks for the thoughts!