My friend, Ron Serdiuk, proprietor of the wonderous Pulp Fiction bookstore in Brisbane, just added this comment to the long ago puce thread. I think it worthy of elevation to a post of its own. He wrote:
I know that the historical origins were worked over and the flea blood/shit thang was put forward and everyone was fairly happpy with that and it seemed to be the end of the discussion . . .
but I don’t think that’s all there is.
I think the actual colour changed—and relatively quickly in hostorical terms—and became something else entirely.
Certainly now – according to Richard (source: decorator and paint charts) and Leanne (source: printers’ colour guides)—t’s either a cherry-ish red or an orange-y pink.
But even as far back as Heyer’s georgian setings I think it had already taken this road. whenever it’s used in her works it either—if used in the context of a male wearing it suggest dandyism or effeminacy—or when a woman is involved it seems to be vulgarity or a younger girl wearing something showy and inappropriate.
Neither suggest a sedate flea blood/shit purple-y brown to this little black duck.
I think we need a whole social history here. could be a great idea for a thesis . . . or maybe a popular history volume to supplement that wonderful book “mauve” from a few years back – (tho’ doubt one could find that puce made nearly as earth-shattering an impact as that aforementioned shade of purple! astonishing!)
One way or another, it aint over yet . . .
Says Justine: Interesting . . . there certainly aren’t many people who can carry off pinky-orange! Though I’m not sure I’d describe this colour as “sedate”.