The Mood Collage: Dissecting Trends

Mood Collage

My mother worked in the fashion industry as an illustrator and I grew up reading Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and any fashion magazine that arrived at the house.  Even my high school prom dress, which I made,  was inspired by something I saw in my mother’s Spring Vogue.  And by the way, I don’t admit to knowing personally about anything older than the 80’s so don’t even ask when that was. 

But sorting through all those photos and trying to make sense out of evolving trends is a challenge for anyone.  So twice a year, I do what most fashion design schools have their students do.  I make a MOOD COLLAGE.  The one shown here is a collage of photos from 5 months worth of fashion magazines from this Spring and Summer.  I usually start by just tearing out anything that “speaks” to me.  I look for COLOR, TEXTURE, PATTERN & FORM LANGUAGE.  Then I sort them into related piles, edit and cut away whatever doesn’t fit.  This time I was specifically looking for two things: COLOR and PRINTS.  So the first image represents the one for Color but also includes some texture and form language.  It is glued to a large sheet of heavy paper and organized by color showing transitions from one color group to another.  Here are some details from this collage with my notes on what I see.


BRIGHTS – In this group I see there is a clear connection to PURPLES & AQUAS.  All the bright colors shown: pink, orange, yellow, green are in versions of those colors that connect well with purple in particular.  You can see the use of this combination on the left side of the photo.

PASTELS – This group shows the more LAVENDER base to colors: Mauve, pale aqua, mauve pinks, softened yellows.  They are actually the same colors in the brights group but more washed out and toned down. 


 LAVENDER OLIVE – I was actually looking for greens but discovered this continuous connection to purple in all areas.  Notice the two greens; olive and aqua.  Also notice the dark reds and purple reds together.  The addition of the touch of pale pink was a surprise. 

Mood Collage

 I use this method when I am trying put new combinations of colors together or trying to figure out the answer to that ever-present question in the designers mind…WHAT IS MODERN?
So get out your scissors and glue sticks and have some fun.

About Justine Limpus Parish

Associate Professor - Art Center College of Design apparel design - Product Design Dept. costume design - Entertainment Design Dept Fashion Instructor: Mt San Antonio College Workshop instructor: Disney Consumer Products
This entry was posted in FASHION & COSTUME ILLUSTRATION, FASHION DESIGN, PRODUCT DESIGN/APPAREL, TEACHING and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Mood Collage: Dissecting Trends

  1. joanell connolly says:

    Justine – thank you for sharing your mood process. If often follow your links from FB but fail to let you know I have enjoyed them.

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