Our big red bridge turns 75

Oops, I mean, Big Orange...
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I think the majority of people (including me) think of the Golden Gate Bridge as red, but it's actually painted "International Orange", an orange vermillion. Alas, the Golden Gate Bridge color paint is not available in paint stores; it's a special mixture formulated just for the Golden Gate. But you can find the exact paint mixture on the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District's website.

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To protect the bridge from the salt water corrosion and keep the color fresh, more than 10 million square feet of steel are constantly touched up. It's a big myth that the bridge is painted from one end to the other rather than continual touch ups. "There's some places it's so windy you have to hold the spray gun next to the steel — otherwise the paint will blow off at a 90-degree angle. That's why, to be a structural steel painter — bridge painter — you've got to be a little off-center," paint superintendent Rocky jokes. (source)

Our beloved Golden Gate Bridge here in San Francisco is celebrating it's 75th anniversary this Memorial Day weekend. Pretty cool. I love driving through town and catching glimpses of it from across the bay. Such an amazing symbol of inspired color design.
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In the 1930's when construction began on the bridge, most bridges were painted gray, black or silver.  The U.S. Navy urged painting the 746-foot towers like giant bumblebees—in black and yellow stripes—for safety reasons. “The navy thought the stripes would be more visible to ships in a heavy fog, and we get a lot of fog,” says paint superintendent Dennis “Rocky” Dellarocca. (source) Irving Morrow, the Golden Gate's consulting architect, had other ideas, making the bold leap to go bright.

"The Golden Gate Bridge," Morrow wrote, "is one of the greatest monuments of all time. Its unprecedented size and scale, along with its grace of form and independence of conception, all call for unique and unconventional treatment from every point of view. What has been thus played up in form should not be let down in color."(source)
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The paint primer covering the bridge's steel, already an orange red color, would need some added tones. Morrow felt it was an ideal complement to the gray fog, the golden and green hills, the blue water and sky.

Locals were so pleased by the temporary color of the bridge's primer, that they wrote to Morrow, urging him to make it permanent.
"He had to convince the Department of War, the permitting agency at the time, that the largest suspension span ever built at the time [should] have this wild crazy color," says Golden Gate Bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie.(source) Morrow presented a 29 page report to convince the board of directors on his color choice. Thanks to an NPR report, we can read it ourselves!

Report on Color and Lighting
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Some of my favorite excerpts/argumentation from the report:

Importance of Color
It is well recognized that the color of a structure has important influence on its appearance and on its relation to its surroundings...The design of the Golden Gate Bridge is generally recognized as being exceptionally expressive and imposing. Color will be an integral factor in the final effect. Poorly chosen color may (a) fail to enforce important aspects of form; (b) actually nullify important aspects of form; (c) materially reduce the apparent size of the structure.

(So true! We color consultants are constantly championing how important color is to inform form)
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The Problem: which color to choose?
Local atmospheric effects- during a considerable portion of the year, particularly during summer, the San Francisco Bay area is covered by high fogs and is relatively sunless. At these times the atmosphere is gray. In sunny weather the predominant color of bay and ocean is blue. In other words, the prevalent atmospheric colors are cool. A structure which is to be emphasized must appear in contrasting or warm colors.
(then he takes a dig at current architects building in San Francisco...)

The color- architects in San Francisco have consistently ignored the above facts and their implications. Except during the transitory Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915, local architecture has remained on the whole timidly colorless, hence without the accent and warmth which conditions call for.

The colors which meet the above requirements range through yellow, orange, and red. Not all, however, are equally appropriate from the other points of view. Yellow shades would lack substance; deep reds would be heavy and without luminosity.
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I like this quote a lot:

"No color will so enhance and enforce its majesty and exhilarating scale as orange vermillion. There will always be legitimate opportunities to paint bridges any of the alternative colors which can be suggested. An opportunity such as is offered here does not occur once in a generation."

SO true! Can you imagine the majestic Golden Gate Bridge as anything other than orangy red?

 * About the artwork: Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory brought on the ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners to create commemorative posters for this celebration. The goal of the images is to shine a light on hidden parts of the bridge – one of the most photographed in the world – that many have never seen before. The photos have been specially treated to stay in-theme with the iconic bold color of the bridge.

Let Your Style Ace the Job Interview

We have a few new faces at NL Collective and today we’re talking about how we got here, how we prepared and more importantly, what we wore.
Asos.com was an inspiration for some of us, it features some great business look ideas as mood boards to excite you for the big day.

We decided to put together a couple of looks of our own that we think are winners, to help you feel like a million bucks when going to present yourself whether it's for a design job at a luxury brand or sales downtown.

One of our favorites at NL Collective for this season is Xuan-Thu Nguyen’s cotton shirt-dress with an attached bowtie, which hangs to the right for the casual look and buttoned up for the preppy and polished. This one-piece wonder is an all in one, you really don’t need any extras to complete the outfit except for perhaps some Juicy Couture Fredo booties, available at Bloomingdales. It’s a perfect ensemble for your upcoming job interview; at least we all wish we wore it.

Xuan-Thu Nguyen is a name that happily thrives in Paris and is finally making its way to New York. This Spring, Nguyen features carefully crafted silk dresses, soft and light as the spring breeze itself; structured jackets in crisp, airy satin as well as uptown basics.
Making our second pick, Nguyen’s distressed silk shift dress (left) paired with Gene’s slim black vest (right) and Topshop’s pink pointed court shoes. Love.

Find Xuan-Thu Nguyen at http://www.x-tn.nl/home/and Gene at http://genestyle.com/en/home

Good luck, just be your chic self.

Dark Romance

Disce Mori, translated from Latin means ‘learn to die’; A theme that has made its way to the top of pop culture in recent years with our increasing fascination of mortality and the afterlife. It’s a theme that we at NL Collective find enthralling and one that jewelry designer Julia deVille owns and lives by.

DeVille creates intricate pieces, exhibiting a vivid representation of death, to wear proudly and remind us to live in the present moment.
Taxidermy, human hair, gold and silversmithing are the core of her creative direction, designed and crafted in such a romantic way, you can’t help falling in love.

Ahead of her time, Australian designer Julia deVille just launched her brand in New York last year. Two years before the Fall 13/14 Dark Romance trend forecast, a dark and dreamy collection from Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Givenchy of luxe velvet, sheer lace, soft leather and sultry silk. Just like deVille’s designs, the inspiration for this coming trend is a merge between the fifteenth to eighteenth century Goths and Victorian royalty.

Preservation of beauty is the co-core of deVille’s brand as well as her undying ethic against animal cruelty. We at NL Collective feel it is very special that all of the animals used in deVille’s art died of natural causes and she incorporates them to celebrate their existence.

Below are some product shots taken from her website: http://www.discemori.com/ they are available online and at Coco de Mer at 236 Elizabeth St in New York. Check the stockist list on deVille's website for other cities. 

The Thin On-line Between Cool and Irrelevant

In the US today there are about 12.5 million people unemployed and looking for work. So I decided to look into the job market to see if there were any new fun titles I could squeeze my general knowledge of business development, branding and life into.

The number one title out there is Social Media Expert. Generally what this means is that a company has been playing by the old marketing rules for many consistent years and all of the sudden, with the snowball emergence of social media platforms, they have begun to lose relevance, fast.

What the company is looking for in this ‘social medial expert’ is an ability to represent them as if the brand was a walking, talking personality who interacts with the public. At least this is what they should be looking for.
The reality however, is a scramble for relevance with an influx of confused hipsters in the working world tweeting about irrelevant ‘cool’ in their lives, inconsistent with the basic brand value and vision.
What these ‘experts’ should recognize is that they are a crucial part of the marketing mix and their voice should be consistent with what’s going on within the brand based on its subject of monarchy, not personal life.

Social media sites were born because people want to know about other’s experiences with certain products, services, trends and life in general. Smart companies appreciate that they are an expert source in their field. They have maintained their credibility by offering a consistent online personality, like a friend you know you can always come to for specific advice.
And this is how it should be, our favorite fashion brand should be our online best-friend who we trust to tell us things like: colors of the upcoming season, which trends to buy into and ones that are on their way out.

I don’t go to Bloomingdale’s twitter page for new cookie recipe, I want to find an exclusive invite to an after-work shopping event. Just like I wouldn’t look through Rachel Ray’s Facebook photos for a pool party look inspiration.
I want to know what the Vogue staff is wearing to work. I want to know where Jessica Stam shops. Nicole Richie is a fashion designer now right? I actually like her brand Winter Kate, but I really don’t care that her latest obsessions right now are “sleeping” and “dairy” (quoted from her Twitter page).

Here are some brands that we at NL Collective think have it right in terms of maintaining balance between being socially relevant and staying true to their brand.

Interview Magazine on Twitter: my online friend for NY fashion culture advice.

Marc Jacobs on Facebook: shows pictures of collection inspirations and what’s going on with the brand country wide, from in store displays to new releases and shoot locations.

Victoria’s Secret Youtube Channel: a consistent fix of the ‘Angels’ in between the annual shows.

Zac Posen on Tumblr: pieces he’s working on in his studio, events he’s at and beautiful people in his clothes. 

Style.com Pinterest: style, style, style. Everything that is relevant right now: shown in pictures with a perfect balance of inspiration and wear ability.

Nail Trend Crossover

Nail art is very common and trendy style of today’s fashion; manicure designs have taken a new route this season. Too many this trend isn’t new; in urban communities nail art has been a way of expressing individual style for years. SWV was a popular R & B trio in the 1990's, Coco their lead vocalist rocked this trend when it was frowned upon and called “ghetto”?   Now on the red carpet you see Rihanna, Fergie, Adele and Lady Gaga (just to name a few) sporting this look. It shows how these show-stopping nail art ideas have developed throughout the years.  Fashion types have been falling all over themselves for funky manicures lately, from simple to uber-sophisticated, which ever creative direction you want to take, the nail art trends will be difficult to resist.

Women around the globe look to designers’ runway looks for inspiration. The number of designers completing their looks with nail fashion shows how popular this obsession become. This season is all about color, so update your manicure right along with you clothing by choosing the most fun and flirty pastel tones as they can be mixed and matched to perfection.

Whether your rocking a stiletto/pointy shaped nails trend (which is characterized by a lovely pointy shape that extend fingers) or a bedazzled nail trend experience these show-stopping spring nail art ideas to land in the spotlight. Who wouldn’t love to put their favorite childhood storybook or retro cartoon characters on their nails?  Not only are these looks fabulous they are FIERCE for pointing at people.

So we here at NL Collective Group wanted to have a little fun with this trend. We matched up some nail art we thought would go great with some of our designers collections.

Kristin Hanson ring paired with a hot pink 
and polka dot nail art design

Divka dress with a color-block nail art design

Moe 12,  flirty baby pink color with
 polka dot and a cute bow

Julia deVille ring

This look is perfect for any season and if you will design your nails in a way of this floral style, you will be a diva of any party and get together.

When Big Hats Hit The Track

Throughout the year there are significant fashion trend monitoring moments. First of course is New York’s Fashion Week, which premieres all the couture trends.  Everyone eagerly anticipates the Academy Awards because it is Haute Evening Gown Premiere Night and NBA All-Star Weekend is also the Sneaker Fashion Premiere Week. The Kentucky Derby is actually the summer track season Fashion Launch Party. It's all about dressing to impress at the Kentucky Derby. Celebrities, media and onlookers are present to view the latest and greatest styles at the racetrack.

Paula Patton

Socialite Marylou Whitney
Miss Teen Kentucky Jefra Bland & Miss 
Kentucky Maria Montgomery 2009

One of the truly unique characteristics of the Kentucky Derby is the sports parties and showcasing the finest in spring fashions. Large or small, contemporary or old-fashioned, big brimmed, feathered, flowery, furry or just plain fascinating, women and men top off their Oaks and Derby duds with a variety of ostentatious head wear.  If you want to know what the Southern Belles, Upper Crust Connecticut Country Clubbers and Long-Island Socialites will be wearing to the Hamptons.
Yes, with integrated marketing and branding, there is a red carpet outside an event that is centered around a horse poop covered dirt track.
Race Day Fashion has become such an integral part of the Kentucky Derby, that they have dedicated an actual museum exhibit to showcase its long history. Part Southern tradition, part spectacle, the Kentucky Derby hat parade is much of what makes “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” one of the greatest people-watching events in the world! From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits when it comes to choosing your Derby hat. Whether to make a statement or just keep the sun at bay, Kentucky Derby hats are part of the tradition and the pageantry that make a trip to the Derby an unforgettable experience.

The Kentucky Derby embodies the love of dressing up for males and females; they tend to pull out all of the stops when selecting their apparel. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Derby dressing in part because of what you wear. Experienced Derby divas also pack a pair of fashionable yet comfortable flats or flip flops to wear home. Who says the high price of fashion has to include blisters? So ladies pick out a large, sun blocking hat, a cocktail dress, and heels. Gentlemen leave their pinstripes at home and instead opt for seersucker suits, light-colored sport coats and the occasional madras plaid jacket. Guys, when in doubt, a navy sports coat with pressed khakis or dress slacks, a light-colored shirt and flashy tie long or bow is perfectly acceptable!

To find inspiration for what to wear to a Kentucky Derby, NL Collective luxury brand designers are your problem solvers. Create an outfit to go with over-the-top hat. Keep in mind the Kentucky Derby isn't about your favorite jockey and horse. It's all about the fashion.

Rachel Ray Hat and Selahdor Dress

Black Feathered Tea Party Hat and Purple Ginger Dress

Moe 12 Dress and Lanna Hat

Clever Fashionista

Style isn't something you can buy, but it is something you can acquire. The ultimate goal is to looking fabulous during these hard economical times. We here at NL Collective, as a business development and integrated consulting firm, live for the pursuit of great fashion. Who doesn't want to know how to score designer goods or put together a super fly wardrobe with a reasonable price point, without having to wait for the sales. Especially since Mother Nature wants to play a traditional game of cat and mouse when it comes to Spring. Being fashionable doesn’t mean splurge on pricey outfits; you can shop on a budget and still look stylish.

Whether your debating if you should dig in your closets, start spring-cleaning and make room for the latest trends or just take it day by day.  Most of us are ready to hit the streets, shop and pull out our favorite shorts and flip flops instead of our everyday black bags, shoes and full-length coat. Although, you may have plenty of money in your kitty and it’s burning a hole in your pocket, but to save it for the rainy day would be a wise option. So, all the shopaholics who can’t resist picking the most expensive garment available in the store or online need to give a second thought.  When faced with this problem kick it up a notch with colorful individual options from your very own closet and from NL Collective experienced designers.

Xuan Thu- Nguyen Clutch

Look stunning in Gene, Purple Ginger and Amorette, great collections that are ready-made admirable outfits and dresses you can spots in any season and are ready to seize the moment and make a great style catch. Pair a sensible heel or boot with this fabulous brand so you can maneuver through any weather conditions. With all the gray and black going on from this fall, a handbag from Xuan Thu- Nguyen.  There's nothing like a hand knitted satin bias with silver chain, the perfect accent. Animal prints are always a go; done correctly, pieces from the Belle Sauvage Leopard collection will never go out of style. But play it safe with an accessory from Young&ng. A solid coat is always necessary; so if you're going to splurge on anything, let it be a good coat.


Gene Butterfly Collection

Accessories can play a major part when trying to dress for the weather. Bracelets, bracelets, bracelets be inspired by these fantastic pastel colours and cool summer looks. We love it! When it comes to accessories, it's all about color, especially accessories with turquoise or metallic. The leather solid and metallic bracelets have been very popular. For an even cooler look, combine the pastel colours, and you’re ready for this summer. Channel the inner princess in you with divine head pieces and chunky or knit scarf, it may look a little silly paired with a lightweight jacket or a just warm enough blazer. As for now deck yourself out in eye-catching accessories and items that will turn heads during any season.
Kristin Hanson


Purple Ginger

The fact that there are so many hot, wearable looks that allow you to reveal your true colors and endless options of your own sense of style when challenged with unruly weather. There are going to be plenty of 80-degree days to look forward too. As the temps start to play mind games with us by rising and falling, it's time to shed the heavy layers and lighten up. There are scores of perfect spring scarves and headpieces that are ripe for the picking. In every print, pattern and palette under the sun. We can't think of an easier or faster way to change up any basic outfit.  No matter if you wrap it, tie it, or just let it flow, it's the best way to have a fabulous and unique 30-second makeover around.