Camilla is right! Purple is boring even in menopause … but purple reigns, writes BEL MOONEY

How good it was to read that the smart, independent Duchess of Cornwall refused to wear the purple dress that the fashion girls suggested for the Vogue photo shoot and got her elegant blue dress instead.

The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured in the magnificent purple at Westminster Abbey 2017.

The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured in the magnificent purple at Westminster Abbey 2017.

Well done to her! She looked magnificent!

I share Camilla’s views on purple – that sickly pink-lilac, with more pink than blue. Like her, I associate purple with the sweaters of old ladies in the 1950s.

It is a pale shade after menopause that draws color from older skin and sends a sign that you have given up thinking that you can make a statement with your clothes.

A friend mentioned that he thinks I like purple. Oh, no, no, no! He mixes that anode, an apologetic, red hue with my love of strong purple and vibrant purple.

Purple is the last color in the spectrum, after indigo, and it tells me about wealth and power – just as it was in the ancient world, when the Romans loved it as a sign of wealth and prestige.

I started wearing purple in 1966, mostly woolen hats and scarves, switched to a purple and black mini coat and a dress (bought on Oxford Street) that I wore for my first marriage in 1968.

Unfortunately, there are no color photos, but the rich needlework was adorned with dark lilac shoes, gloves and a handbag, and a shocking pink hat adorned with a bunch of violets that my new husband bought me that rainy February morning. I was only 21 years old.

Camilla, pictured with Charles during Kiwi's 2015 trip, has always had an eye for fashion

Camilla, pictured with Charles during Kiwi’s 2015 trip, has always had an eye for fashion

I remarried in 2007, at almost 61, when it came to what to wear, I didn’t have to think long.

This time (so far bigger better) I chose a beautiful cocktail dress by London and Cheltenham company Beatrice von Tresckow, with a beautiful purple silk embroidered corset and purple chiffon over a turquoise silk skirt.

I like it so much that I wore the same dress for my daughter’s wedding two years later, and again for a friendly smart birthday. It’s a little tight now, but I’m determined to wear it again one day.

What about shades of purple? To immediately avoid ‘purple’, this color was accidentally discovered in 1856 by William Henry Perkin, an 18-year-old chemistry expert who was looking for a synthetic alternative to quinine, a drug for malaria. He added hydrogen and oxygen to the coal tar, noticed a strange dark precipitate as he washed his zucchini – and discovered a purple color.

But according to Victoria Finlay’s great book, Color: Travels Through The Paintbox, he didn’t call this new shade purple, but ‘Tyrian purple’.

When I got married for the second time in 2007, it didn't take me long to choose the right color

When I got married for the second time in 2007, it didn’t take me long to choose the right color

She writes: “Until 1858, every lady in London, Paris and New York who could afford it wore” purple “, and Perkin, who founded a paint factory with his father and brother, was supposed to be a rich man before he turned 21. birthday ‘.

Of course, the shade Camilla and I don’t like is just one shade of color range that can be described as amethyst, clover, lupine, magenta, orchid, plum (and many others) depending on the mix of blue and red as well as white for pale tones .

Many people will claim that purple is beautiful and flattering. But when Shakespeare describes Queen Cleopatra’s magnificent boat – ‘Kaka was beaten with gold, purple sails’ – he imagined a deep splendor suitable to dazzle generals and emperors, not a pale imitation.

The search for that purple color takes us back to ancient history and a natural, highly prized, rich color made from the Murex brandaris shell, found in the eastern Mediterranean. But the secret of ‘Tyrian purple’ disappeared, until archaeologists began searching to rediscover it in the 1860s.

In a difficult and expensive process, hundreds of thousands of tiny sea snails had to be found, their shells cracked and the snail removed.

The snails were left to soak in a mixture of wood ash, water and urine, then the tiny gland was removed and the juice was removed and placed in sunlight – to change color through white, then green, then purple, then red which became darker .

More than 250,000 shells were needed to extract just half an ounce of paint – enough for one toga.

The process had to be stopped at the right time to get the purple color – rich and bright, and suitable only for the rich.

Is my love for purple a sign of vanity? Probably! In ancient Rome, tight purple dresses were a sign of victory and status.

At my mother’s recent funeral, I wore my favorite purple dress (seen every week in a picture in my Saturday tips column in Mail) under a plum coat, cotton velvet, streaked with dark pink and purple flowers. Mom would approve. She wasn’t so thrilled with black.

In a photo of Vogue on her 75th birthday, the Duchess of Cornwall looked spectacular

In a photo of Vogue on her 75th birthday, the Duchess of Cornwall looked spectacular

I am obsessed with amethyst jewelry and now my newly planted summer pots are full of purple sage that bees love so much, different shades of lilac and purple nemesis and purple petunia.

My favorite roses, called Rhapsody in Blue, are magnificent reddish-purple, and right now (after the rain) their shed petals are extravagant like a gorgeous purple passage in prose.

Twelve years ago, I painted our bathroom a dark purple color, which is the color of peace and spirituality, as pale lilac is considered to be the color of healing (both great colors for a advice columnist).

So, Camilla, I’m with you on that pink purple – but please join me in wearing a bright purple! It is the most beautiful color with light hair.

And remember that the color of the brand new Elizabeth Line in London is a beautiful purple.

As Cleopatra knew, this is a color that suits the queen.

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