Tuesday, July 11, 2006

OPI Revisited

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After I posted about OPI colors and paint colors and the fact that I'd like to have the honor of naming fashion shades, I began to search for more information about the OPI company. Here is an article that holds some verrrry interrrrresting information -- at least to me!

Local color
OPI gives its nail polishes eccentric names with regional ties. Could Boston be next?
By Kate M. Jackson, Globe Correspondent August 4, 2005

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves; others wear their attitudes on their toes.

Whether you're throwing confetti or throwing a tantrum, OPI has probably assigned your mindset a color and bottled it. Since 1989, the nail lacquer company has captured all moods whimsical and wily with shades like ''Not So Bora Bora Pink" and ''My Auntie Drinks Chianti."

For Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, nail color is as much about creating an experience as it is about making a statement. Each season Weiss-Fischmann, OPI's executive vice president and artistic director, assembles a creative team to name new lacquer colors based on different locations worldwide.

''Six or seven of us get together in a room for about five to six hours. We take out the map, and then things get really goofy," said Weiss-Fischmann, who's drawn inspiration for past collections from such places as Canada, Greece, and Italy.

During naming sessions, the goal is to capture the colors of the landscape and the eccentricities of each location -- and then tie them into the season's fashion trends, she said.

OPI's most popular color to date is a feisty red shade titled ''I'm Not Really a Waitress." ''That was part of our Hollywood collection," Weiss-Fischmann explained, ''because everyone in LA says they're not really a waitress."

For the Canadian collection, OPI gave local colloquialism a shout-out with a shade titled ''Nice Color, Eh?" ''Aphrodite's Pink Nightie" was the goddess of the Greek collection. For the Italian collection, Weiss-Fischmann said the lacquers mirrored the hues of a Tuscan vineyard, and also paid tribute to some beloved mechanics from New Jersey with the color ''Hey Vito, Is My Car Red-y."

The creativity and humor pasted across the tiny name tags on the bottom of each OPI bottle have secured a worldwide following of customers who are not only fans, but devotees.

Kelley Cyr of Milton almost switched nail salons when her regular manicurist suggested she try a similar color from another brand. ''I insisted on my 'Coney Island Cotton Candy,' " Cyr said.

''Home on the O-Range" is an OPI color that Kathleen Norton of Hingham calls ''the perfect summer shade."

''It's a bright coral that really complements your tan," said Norton, who found the color had a hidden bonus: ''It makes my wedding and engagement rings look bigger."

At Neet Nails in Norwell, owner Anita Asci said an OPI-inspired venting session once erupted among the manicures and pedicures.

''Everyone seemed to be annoyed with their husbands or life in general, and we started making up colors based on our feelings and thought about submitting them to OPI," she said.

Some of the names they came up with that day included ''Push Me Over the Edge Red" and ''Can't Find the Vicodin Violet," said Asci.

Yesterday OPI unveiled its latest creation, the Chicago Collection. ''The 12 new shades feature a lot of creamy browns and rich reds, which are the hottest colors for this fall," said Weiss-Fischmann.

New shades include ''That's an 'EL' of a Color!" a brick-red polish named after Chicago's elevated transit system, and a shimmery nude hue called ''Skinny Dip'n in Lake Michg'n."

Whether or not OPI plans a Boston-based collection ''is top secret," said Weiss-Fischmann, ''but you never know."

Somewhere out there ''Red Sox Red" or ''Pahk the Cah-rimson" are just begging to be bottled.

Notice the section I highlighted in "Mauvelous Mauve" (you like that shade name I just came up with, Cruisin' Mom?). And think back to the scene I imagined at OPI, the round-table tactics to come up with names for new collection.

See... I wasn't so far off the mark, was I? Maybe there is a place for me at that corporation, after all. Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, hope you're reading this and not just contemplating your next manicure...

The Man in the Moon

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Last night, between 9:20 and 9:50 I walked the dog. And as I walked through a neighborhood park, I noticed the HUGE, beautiful moon suspended in the sky, a beacon for all to see and admire. It was as if the moon was saying, "Hey, look me over!"

And as I looked at the moon, I smiled, for not only was it majestic-looking, full and beautiful, holding court in the astral plains, it looked a tad different. And I was inspired to write a poem.

The Man in the Moon

Tonight as I walked
through the darkening streets
I looked up to the sky
And saw you.
A beacon of light.
An orb all aglow.

A disc suspended high, high above
the greening of the earth,
the people and animals down below
shutting down for the night.

I looked at you
and saw that burnt amber face powder you wore
atop the natural ivory
and I wondered at the color you chose to wear tonight.
Your finest? I asked myself. Is that maquillage necessary?

And your jovial self continued
to look down at me and smile,
knowing that the man in the moon was playing his role,
was lighting up the sky brighter than usual,
was causing people to look, point and smile.

For you wore an accessory.
The thin wispy, thready clouds around you
had designed an accessory just for you -- for tonight's performance.
A handlebar mustache.
The man in the moon was seen wearing
a handlebar mustache.

"Encore, encore," I silently called.
"Encore, encore," I silently clapped.



I went home and before I sat down to write this post and create the poem, I checked out information about the moon on July 10, 2006, and this is what I found:

July 10, 11:02 p.m. EDT: The Full Buck Moon, when the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, thunderstorms being now most frequent. Sometimes also called the Full Hay Moon.

Color Me OPI

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On my walk with the dog Monday evening, I was looking at the full moon and felt inspired enough to write a poem (for another post). It came about because I was looking at the color of the moon, trying to determine the exact shade. And as I thought of that, I thought of names of paint colors, and nail polish shades, and wondered "Who comes up with them?"

And not for the first time I decided that I want to become an official name-caller.... I want to be one of those people who thinks up these illustrious and innovative names for up-and-coming shades of paints and cosmetics.

"Color naming in fashion and paint exploits the subjectiveness and emotional context of words and their associations. This is particularly seen in the naming of paint chips (samples) where paint is sold. This may in fact be an aid to moving a customer through the store more rapidly, as closely similar shades may be equally vailid in a specific application, with selection being determined by individual preference, colors of furnishings and artwork, and the quality and character of light, both artificial and natural. The attachment of an emotional context to a color sample by choice of name may enhance the rapidity of selection.

In fashion and automotive colors the objective of naming is to enhance the perception of color through apropriate naming to fit the emotional context desired. Thus the same "poppy yellow" can become either the hot blooded and active "amber rage", the cozy and peaceful "late afternoon sunshine", or the wealth evoking "sierra gold".

I discovered a list of 1970s Behr Paint palette names and wondered at many of them. Although creative, the names don't always even give a hint as to what color family the shade is part of.

1970s Color Palette
Cinnamon Cherry
Burley Wood
Sugar Berry
Almond Cream
Licorice Stick
Ocean Pearl
Chamois Cloth
Maple Leaf
Tate Olive
Pumpkin Patch
Jungle Trail
Celtic Gray
Chesnut Stallion
Teal Bayou
Navajo White
Peacock Feather
Honey Tone
Creek Bend
Dry Sea Grass
Dark Caven
Golden Chalice
Bear Rug

It's amazing to think that people get paid to sit and think, and think, and think and come up with these names. And I have to tell you, throughout time, there have been many households having domestic disputes about paint shades, paint names and what they represent, and lots of "Don't you dare put that mustard color on the walls!" or "Cotton candy pink? This ain't a baby's nursery, this is a dining room!" or "If you paint this bedroom that shade of regal purple, so help me, I won't be sharing this bed with you any more!" (the wife grins broadly at her husband's outburst, happily plotting to reclaim the queen-size bed now that he's made his announcement)

I am especially impressed with OPI cosmetics, and their use of color names, specifically their nail polish collections. An example is above; it's their Italy collection. I've been equally impressed with the NY collection and the Chicago collection. But can you just imagine the scenario as a brainstorming meeting gets underway at OPI...

A boardroom has a large table with several people sitting around it. On the table are English and foreign-language dictionaries, a thesaurus, an atlas, lots of scribble pads and pens, random color photos, and the Internet is hooked up at several computer stations, just waiting to be used if necessary.

"Okay, people. There's lots of work to do. We need a new collection for Winter 2008, and we need ideas, names, big concepts. Sandra, this time it's you. Cover your eyes with one hand and with the other open up that atlas, flip through the pages and pick one. That country you pick will be the new collection."

Sandra happily does as Derek says, and comes up with SWTZERLAND.

"Perfect, Sandra...seeing as it is a winter collection we're working on. Okay, people, start thinking..."

And they come up with: (maybe I should TM these ideas of mine)

Bern, Baby, Bern (deep red shade)
Fondue 4 Fun (brown shade)
Swiss Miss Magic (cream shade)
Come Blow Your Alphorn (yellow shade)
Zany Zurich (silver shade)
Bahnhofstrasse Boogie (copper shade)

So, OPI, if you happen to stumble across this little blog of mine, consider my offer to become a "name-caller" for you. I love wordplay, I have creative ideas and I'm a colorful character. And if that's not enough for you, I've just designed your new Winter 2008 collection: Switzerland: It's a Matter of the Matterhorn.