by admin on March 21, 2011

seeing red

i had never really thought of the phrase “seeing red” as an idiom, much less a fashion idiom until i used it in a pun the other day! (i won’t bore you with the pun!)  it seems so literal somehow:  turning red = angry; red cape = angry bull.

of course it means to be irritated, angry, or annoyed. the color red has a long history in the fashion world, and ever has a book written about it–THE PERFECT RED, by amy greenfield.

most of us association red with valentines day, and when mixed with green, christmas.  however, in the 16th century, red cloth was rare, expensive and prized by the wealthy.

spanish explorers had discovered a brilliant red dye used in mexico and made from the bodies of insects. spain had the rest of europe seeing red…no,no, that’s green with envy over this discovery!  cochineal dye was eventually replaced by artificial dyes in the 1800’s, but has come back into use recently as a “natural” and safe dye for cosmetics and food.

btw, red is IN this season, so let’s go shop for some clothes made with real cochineal dye!



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