Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark

I love it when I get requests, because it's an opportunity to find out about someone new and see what their particularities can show me about the nature of human colouring :-)  I was thrilled to look up Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, because she's a beautiful woman, and I was compelled to found out more on Wikipedia.  She was actually born in Australia, so her first language is English.  She met Prince Frederik of Denmark and they started a courtship with her having no idea of his being a Prince!  He sprung the news on her half way through their courtship.  I wonder if she had suspected anything?  I'm such a romantic, and I just love a good fairytale!  It's nice to know that romance is still alive and well in our day and age.  Sure, you never know what really goes on, we only ever get the glossed over version of things, but it's nice to dream... *sigh*
The lovely couple on their wedding day
On the the question of colour.  The main thing I ask myself is not so much how I can deduce a persons colouring from their characteristics, what rather, what range of palettes to consider given the clues that I have.  I don't even like the term "best colours", because it's not the colours that matter, but the properties of light applied to those colours.  This is why the seasons work so well, because we take the all the properties of light visible to the human eye that already exist within nature, and we apply it to our fellow humans who are also from nature.  We can all wear red, we can all wear blue.  The question is, in what kind of light? 

So what kind of light is most suited to our beautiful Princess Mary?

Sometimes is just a question of finding the right photograph.  That's why there is such a term of taking a picture of someone "in their best light".  This particular picture looks pretty flattering to me, and the most flattering photos are those that show the best possible version of ourselves.  Photo shopping absolutely does not count, as it simply erases everything that is beautiful and unique about a person, but when you see a photo like the above, you get to consider a persons "natural" beauty. 
What I observe from this picture is that contrast is a very important factor here.  The question was asked Cool Summer or Dark Winter? and my immediate sense would be that any kind of summer would never be able to project such blinding clarity, such strongly defined contrast.  The nature of summer beauty does not reside in contrast, but in a hazy, more blended and subdued world.
Notice also how stunning the top she's wearing is against her skin: absolutely saturated and slightly warmed, very deep royal purple.  My immediate reaction upon seeing this picture would be that this woman is a Dark Winter. 

The black test: if you suspect someone to be a Winter, check out how they fare in black.  I would say brilliantly in this case, wouldn't you?  She looks absolutely alive in black head to toe, not only that, but in a very saturated black, the material absorbs all light, making this blacker than black.  Stunning!  None of the other seasons apart from the Winters would look this amazing in black, and to be honest, I would even rule out Bright Winter which is the lightest of the Winter seasons, when the black clothes here are so dark that absolutely no light is reflected off of them and the person still looks amazing.  Therefore, it would merely be a contest between Cool Winter and Dark Winter, but then see how the gold jewellery adds a richness to the whole ensemble, and even how the handbag looks perfect in it's deep dark brown red black tones.

Whereas these more soft, summery tones just don't do a thing for her.  They're too pale/subdued, and they make HER look paler and more subdued than she actually is.  Also, there seems to be a hint of warmth in her face that looks nice, but doesn't match the clothes.  Fact is, she can handle a lot more depth and brightness of colour than these clothes are offering.
This is a bit of a relief to look at after that last one due to it's clarity and depth!  However, the colour actually seems a bit more Cool Winter to me, and with the addition of the light blue sash, the whole effect is ever so slightly off kilter.  It's not bad, but it's not perfect.  It just feels a bit too cool, a bit too stark, and I feel like my eyes are searching for that ember of warmth to deepen and enrich the whole effect.  If the material was velvet rather than satin, it would already be a lot better.
Whereas THIS is what Dark Winters were made to wear!  Especially royal Dark Winters!  I love this so much I can't even tell you!  Deep regal burgundy red velvet dress with gold jewellery is the perfect combination for a Dark Winter.  And I mean, perfect.  Notice how she isn't even wearing that much makeup.  Notice also how she can get away with slight warmth in her lipstick and it still looks good- a Cool Winter wouldn't do too well with any warmth in their lips.  Why not Dark Autumn then you might ask?  Go back to the picture of her all in black.  Dark Autumns can get away with black, but they don't look stunning in it as they would in a deep chocolate brown.  Autumns need warmth, period.  Dark Winters only need slight warmth, and lots and lots of darkness along with a good deal of saturation, ie: not too much softness.  Lines are very well defined in Winter.
The reason I wanted to show you this photo is so that you can see how much warmth is present in her skin, in a manner that is noticeable to the eye.  Skin is complex because it's made up of many, many colours.  What matters is not how warm or cool you appear, but how warm or cool you actually are, which can only be identified by the contiguous colours you are wearing, or that are surrounding you.  You'd be forgiven for thinking that she could be a Dark Autumn by looking at this picture, and yet...  look at her skin: notice how shiny it looks?  It's interesting to note that Christine Scaman in her excellent articles about "Best finish on (...) skin" for all the 12 seasons told us that she equated Dark Winter skin to Vinyl.  I don't really like comparing anything human to anything artificial, but just take a moment to ponder this: in all the photos of Princess Mary, her skin gives off a very smooth, polished shine, which is not oiliness.  We talk about undertones, but the texture of our skin itself goes a long way to determining how light will behave when reflected off of our skin, and therefore, how it will impact the way we perceive "our colours".
Look at how the light bounces off her face in this picture.  It's absolutely light, and yet her hair looks absolutely densely dark, creating extreme natural contrast.   A living, breathing person will cause the light to react in a certain way because of the very fabric of their physical being.  This is why there are certain types of colours that will look better than others.  We're not looking to match colours per se, were looking to match properties of colour.  I cannot stress that point enough.  Once we stop looking at it in terms of which colours we can or cannot wear, we will cease to feel so limited by our palette.
So we've looked at how Princess Mary is most likely to be a Dark Winter.  Now, just for my own enjoyment, a few of the colours from her palette to see their effect:
Dark Winter blue, you just can't go wrong with this! 
Delicious, regal, gorgeous deep wine red.  To me, the Dark Winter colour par excellence!

A very fetching shade of green.  Look how relaxed it makes her look, and how relaxing it feels to look at!
Dark Winter yellow.  A beautiful shade for summer.  Has enough brightness to not be pastel.  It enhances the light in her face beautifully.
And then you plummet deep down into the depths of the mysterious Dark Winter purple.  Gorgeous!
And how vibrant is this wonderful shade of coral/rose?  So refined and distinguished yet utterly romantic.  I love!
I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to look at her colours, because each time I see a palette in the context of another person, it's like seeing that palette afresh, with new eyes, and it makes perfect sense. 
Till the next time!  (I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately, but life suddenly got super super busy!  I hate it when anything pulls me away from doing this, but I'm not going to stop!)


  1. Samuel Edelstein12 April 2013 at 10:49

    Our living breathing Princess has skin like the waxy flesh of a magnolia flower. Love Angela X

  2. Yes! I love that analogy! So much better than Vinyl I think! Thank you! xxx

  3. Dark winter beauty! I really love all of your analysis and I think you are one of the best { maybe cause I usually agree with you observations? LOL}. I was thinking the other day, is there a season that can get away with the most? Sometimes stars take alot of liberties and while it does not look harmonious it does not look as bad as , say, some other starlet trying to reinvent herself and it looks just terrible.

  4. Just wanted to say thank you so much for analyzing Crown Princess Mary of Denmark´s
    colouring. How wonderful a blogpost you have made, just love it <3 She is a lovely Deep Winter,
    I agree with you :-)

    Kindly regards from

  5. Dear Anette, I'm so glad you liked this, it was so much fun for me to do!
    Nicole, thank you so much for your comments! I don't know if I could give a definitive answer to that question, as I think it depends mostly on the individual, however, I think that probably Winters have it the easiest (but don't quote me on that!) since their colouring is the most defined and saturated, and therefore, they wouldn't tend to be overwhelmed by their clothes, because their colouring would most likely be stronger. Also, I think neutral seasons generally can get away with more than the "True" seasons, since there are allowances for warmth and coolness whereas the true seasons must follow a strict rule of only warm or only cool to be at their best. But in terms of reinventions, if it really, really works, than maybe their reinvention went more in the direction of their natural colouring, whereas a reinvention that doesn't work at all may be going totally against their natural colouring.


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