COLOR PALETTE: WHITE
Winter atmospheres inspire the very first blog article of 2024, devoted to white: a color we often encounter in the FILA heritage, linked with historical, scientific and cultural symbols.
In order to write about white in a rigorous way, we need to bring up a crucial scientific event from the XVII century, when Sir Isaac Newton presented his theory on the origin of colors to the Royal Society in London. On 8 February 1672, the British physicist demonstrated that clear white light creates waves in the ether, perceived by the human eye through a spectrum of seven different tones. He stated that it is not white – on the contrary, it’s composed by the seven of them: in order to prove it, he projected a ray of light through a crystal prism, showing that it could be reflected in a colored way.
Newton’s discovery brought down the centennial belief that described white as the absence of color: a bizarre conviction, if we think about the multiple metaphors that such nuance has embodied in history.
The Indo-European root of the word ‘white’ means ‘vivid being’; the term that used to indicate it in ancient Greece, leukòs, referred to objects such as snow, silver, dust, evoking ‘a clear voice’ or ‘a happy day’. In Latin language it’s impossible to use a single term: for this reason, candidus refers to dazzling shades, while albus is related to opaque ones. The Chinese language also adopts two different words (bài and hào), and we must not forget that for such culture white is the color of grief.
The concept of purity (emphasized by many religions in the world) emerges through symbolic images, whether flowers (like lilies) or animals such as doves, lambs and swans. Speaking about this, the same color has started defining frightening creatures only in the modern age: in 1851 Herman Melville defined whale Moby Dick a ‘white spirit’. More than 100 years later, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) presented a white shark as one of the scariest villains in cinematic history. The same animal, in 1991, was preserved in formaldehyde by British artist Damien Hirst to create The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, one of the most controversial sculptures ever.
For FILA, white represents a long-term, important presence. It was the color of the underwear garments produced in Biella in the 20th century, when the company was a local family business. In capital letters, it appears in both WHITE LINE and WHITE ROCK, the sportswear lines that changed the worldwide perception of tennis and hiking in the Seventies (curiously, with multicolored clothes). It is the undoubted protagonist of the most recent urban evolutions: the Fall Winter 2020 collection, for instance, is made of outrageous fabric layers and dazzling white tones, as blinding as snow. On the other hand, FILA’s Spring Summer 2023 collection (designed by Haider Ackermann) investigates the color’s possible shades both through clothes and runway display. It features white as a vibrant, bright being, able to sculpt bodies in many different ways.Back to the articles!
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