Book review: Black

An array of New Zealand fashion experts, lecturers and curators wax lyrical on our collective infatuation with that colour that isn't a colour.

Curated by Doris de Pont (Penguin, 2012), $59.99

Black - Doris Du PontStep-mothers, sisters-in-law and third cousins rejoice, for now there is a new potential gift from those relatives who don’t know you well but are embarrassed to buy you Westfield vouchers for the second year running.

It’s a picture book (yay!) with the added bonus of paragraphs and commentary from an array of New Zealand fashion experts, lecturers and curators on our collective infatuation with that colour that isn’t a colour. From Victorian mourning to national sports uniforms to the dark designs of NOM*d, Black shows us the full spectrum of our love of the National Pigment.

Do we wear black out of modesty, rebellion, conformity, complicity, as a rejection of fashion or because it hides pie stains so well? Editor Doris de Pont states on the matter: “Everyone has an opinion, and for that opinion offered there was invariably a contrary view.”

Like many coffee table books, I’m not sure anyone would buy one for themselves. I could be wrong, you may still be reeling in post-cup patriotic pride but aren’t really into pictures of muddy men scrumming or hugging? Or you’re a goth? Sorry, ignore me, if they had penned Teal I probably wouldn’t be so dark on it.

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