Saturday, May 23, 2009

The definitive Pavlova color spectrum

1. Complete chronological list of 31 references in the Argus newspaper (Melbourne) to “Pavlova” or “pavlova” as the name for a “new season” color, together with all accompanying named colors or shades, 1926–28:


April 26, p. 7: Read’s of Chapel Street, Prahran, “Bargains in Seasonable Merchandise”

—Ladies’ imported all-wool Jersey jumpers “in all new season’s shades, including tangerine, amourette, nilesque, veronese, tan, Pavlova, oriflamme, rust, and burnt oak”

May 19, p. 15: Georges’ winter sale

—suits and frocks in “jade, wine, cocoa, Pavlova, bois de rose, and cinnamon.”

June 12, p. 9: Myer Emporium

—Saxony frocking in “bracken, bois de rose, Pavlova, almond, bottle, palm green, and parma violet”; bordered frockings in “Sahara, bracken, amethyst, Pavlova, palm green, nut brown, bottle, bois de rose, nigger, and rust”; and English velours in “wine, Burgundy, plum, Pavlova, saxe, Princess blue, bottle, navy, and black.” 

June 22, p. 7: Read’s winter sale, a “Wholesale Slaughter of Woollen Dress Goods”

—Kasha suitings “in diagonal stripe effects of Pavlova, Dutch blue, bottle, russet, and new red”; and tubular Jersey cloth in “rose, rosewood, santal, bois de rose, Pavlova, deep mauve, cinnamon, cocoa, rose, beige, mole, grey, new green, Persian, beaum (wine) [sic: beaune], spring, vert de gris (two shades), Elizabeth blue, sky, light tan, wine, full brown, navy, also black and cream.” 

September 20, p. 15: Read’s after-stocktaking sale

—French colored chiffon taffeta in “pervenche [periwinkle blue], bois de rose, plum, navy, white, brown, raisin, champagne, wine, mulberry, nattier, vieux rose saxe, rose, beige, chardron, parma, Pavlova, cocoa, and black”; inch crepe de chine in “santal, rosewood, rose, beige, chardron, cocoa, parma, mulberry, burgundy, Pavlova, mauve, bois de rose, vert de gris, navy; also ivory and black”; and all-wool Jersey frocks in “saxe, reseda, nude, putty, Pavlova, wine, bottle, fuchsia, and fawn,” and all-wool Jersey jumpers in “red, reseda, jade, bois de rose, cardinal, saxe, fawn, putty, grey, and Pavlova.” 


January 6, 1927, p. 11: Read’s bumper annual half-yearly sale

—French crepe de chine “in shades of helio., grey, nigger, salmon, petunia, vert de gris, lettuce, lemon, Pavlova, apricot, champagne, burgundy, fuchsia, reseda.”

February 5, p. 9: Maclellan & Co., of Chapel Street, Prahran

—Artificial silk striped stockinette, “in the latest tones of turquoise, sky, shell, champagne, glycine, helio, pink, apricot, bois de rose, pavlova, ivory, rose, and lemon.”

February 23, p. 8: Maclellan’s “Bargain Days at the Big Store”

—Artificial silk stockinette, “suitable for lingerie, in the latest tones of sky, lavender, lemon, shell, champagne, glycine, salmon, apricot, bois de rose, and Pavlova.”

February 24, p. 15: Payne’s Bon Marche, Pty. Ltd., 138–144 Bourke Street, “A Blaze of Monster Bargains”

—Dainty silk-and-wool jumpers in “fawn, delphinium, salmon, jade, eau de nil, pavlova, ivory, rose, and lemon.”

March 8, p. 15: Read’s

—Crepe de chine. The “color range includes Apricot, Pervanche, Fawn, Pavlova, Mauve, Navy, Rosewood, Wine, Lemon, Bois de Rose, Helio., Rose, Beige, Almond, Mulberry, Wine [sic], Fuchsia, Burgundy, Cocoa, Vieux Rose, also Black.”

March 10, p. 13: Payne’s

—Superior highly mercerized coloured Merveens, finely woven of superior Egyptian thread “in saxe, eau de nil, grey, cardinal, pavlova, vieux rose, reseda, sunset, flame, fawn, nigger, navy, ruby, scarlet, helio., coral, cinnamon, and black.”

April 5, p. 14: The Mutual Store, Ltd., Melbourne’s leading Department Store, opp. Flinders Street Station

—All-wool Jersey “in newest shades of reseda, bois de rose, cedarwood, strawberry, mauve, fawn, Pavlova, burgundy.”

April 6, p. 11: Read’s

—French silk Marocain “in shades of caramel, bois de rose, pavlova, cocoa, pervanche, Elizabeth blue, and mulberry.”

May 21, p. 9: Myer’s

—Wool Jerseys and coating tweeds “in bracken, amethyst, rust, mulberry, tan, wine, pervanche blue, russet, Burgundy, reseda, palm, bottle, saxe, Pavlova, rose, and navy.”

June 4, p. 25: Maclellan’s

—Silk stock’ettes “in the latest tones of lemon, flesh, sky, Pavlova, apricot, lavender, bois de rose, and champagne.”

June 25, p. 19: Maclellan’s

—Silk stock’ettes “in the latest tones of lemon, mauve, apricot, Pavlova, bois de rose, helio, sky, champagne, and lavender.”

August 4, p. 11: Read’s

—Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans “in shades of sky, mauve, Pavlova, bois de rose, coral, henna, apricot, cinnamon, saxe, fawn, bottle, and cream”; and Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans in “saxe, sky, bois de rose, fawn, orange, Pavlova, black, and white.”

August 17, p. 9: Read’s

—Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans “in shades of sky, mauve, Pavlova, bois de rose, coral, henna, apricot, cinnamon, saxe, fawn, bottle, and cream”; and Ladies’ all-wool knitted cardigans in “saxe, sky, bois de rose, fawn, orange, Pavlova, black, and white.”

November 9, p. 26: Read’s

—Silk Marocain “in shades of helio., reseda, cyclamen, pervanche, pavlova, and orchid.”


January 7, p. 9: Myer’s

—Swiss cotton fabrics “in pervanche, rose, Pavlova, saxe, bois de rose, putty, helio., apple green, coral, navy, and white.”

July 14, p. 28: Foy and Gibson of Collingwood

—Ring velvets “in smart fashionable tones of flame, Pavlova, petunia, cardinal, mauve, bois de rose, and cyclamen.”

October 17, p. 9: Myer’s

—Crepe noveau [sic] and Saxony frockings “with neat stripes on beige, fawn, parma, plum, tabac, Pavlova, grey, bois de rose, caramel, mid. Brown, almond, raisin, rose, black, and navy.”

October 20, p. 9: Myer’s

—Summery cotton weaves from overseas “in perfectly plain shades of pink, mauve, nil, sand, helio., Pavlova, pale blue, light saxe, and black.”

2. Number of times each color term is listed in the Argus newspaper (Melbourne) where “Pavlova” is also mentioned separately 31 times as a “new season” color:

(21): bois de rose; (11): fawn; saxe/light saxe; (10): black; rose; (9): mauve/deep mauve; navy; sky; (8): apricot; bottle; helio[trope].; wine/beaum (wine); (7): lemon; reseda; (6): burgundy; champagne; cocoa; pervanche/pervanche blue; (5): beige; cinnamon; grey; mulberry; (4): brown/full brown/mid. brown/nut brown; coral; eau de nil/nil/nilesque; Elizabeth blue/pale blue/Princess blue; parma/parma violet; white; (3): almond; bracken; cardinal; cream; fuchsia; ivory; jade; lavender; nigger; plum; putty; rosewood; rust; salmon; tan/light tan; vert de gris/vert de gris (two shades); vieux rose/vieux rose saxe (see also saxe/light saxe, above); (2): amethyst; apple green/new green; caramel; chardron; cyclamen; flame; flesh/nude; glycine; henna; orange; palm/palm green; petunia; pink; raisin; red/new red; russet; santal; shell; (only 1): amourette; burnt oak; cedarwood; delphinium; Dutch blue; lettuce; mole; nattier; orchid; oriflamme; Persian; ruby; Sahara; sand; scarlet; spring; strawberry; sunset; tabac; tangerine; turquoise, and veronese.

Conclusion: Of the thirty-one wholly explicit uses in print of Pavlova or pavlova as the name for a color, all occur in advertisements placed by seven Melbourne department stores in the Argus newspaper between April 26, 1926, and October 20, 1928, whereupon the term utterly vanishes from sight. All are applied to cotton, woolen, or silk fabrics—occasionally but much less often to finished garments, usually knitted. Moreover, there is a suspiciously consistent distribution of equally unusual color terms in this relatively small sample, which implies (a) that this was a campaign devised by a single mind, or at least a very small group working in close cooperation or even collusion; or (b) that these colors belonged to a single batch of stock, possibly even the the entire stocks of Messrs. Wallace and Shorter Pty. Ltd., in voluntary liquidation,” that on one occasion Read’s explicitly stated that they bought from Messrs. Wilson, Rattray and Danby, Public Accountants, 41 Queen Street. In that case the stock may well have been divided between the six other outlets as well; and/or (c) the colored fabrics mentioned most often, above all “Pavlova,” were exceedingly hard to move or sell on locally. The overwhelming majority of the advertisements are for big sales. Nor did the term enjoy any form of revival upon Anna Matveyevna Pavlova’s triumphant return visit to Melbourne in 1929. This might simply have been for reasons of tact, or indeed the more commercially relevant lack of any formal licensing or any other sort of agreement with the ballerina without which she might reasonably have been expected to take exception to the use of her name for promotional or sales purposes.

And now, I think, we turn to the trademarks office, and the relevant litigation and case law for the period, or else seek psychiatric care.

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