Purple is a color I hardly choose on my own. Occasionally I'll reach for a light lavender but I don't naturally gravitate towards anything truly purple. Lately however, that has changed and I've been flagging countless rich & saturated purple inspirations.
Aubergine, the French word for those small European-style eggplants, is that perfect purple. Somewhere between a maroon and a plum, the dark violet hue has a luxurious feel with a slightly moody edge making it such an appealing choice for the winter months.
Aubergine consists of a close mixture of red, blue, gray, brown and black tones creating a complex warmth. Similar in composition to Burgundy but with less red and more blue.
Because purple is at the far end of the visible color spectrum, it is the hardest color for the eye to discriminate and therefore debate around whether or not it is a "warm" or "cool" color.
In color psychology, aubergine, like many complexly formulated colors is said to be calming yet stimulating at the same time. It is known to inspire creativity and awaken the senses while it can also lead to feelings of introspection.
Various psychological studies have suggested that the color radiates confidence and self esteem. As a member of the purple family it represents wealth and royalty.
But for many purple is considered tiring for the eyes and can cause a sense of frustration; often symbolizing sorrow in prominent artworks.
Historically, aubergine has always been linked to status. Purple as a royal color started with ancient monarchies. Since it was difficult to produce, the pigment was extremely expensive and available only to elite society. Rulers, monarchs and members of the clergy always wore purple robes and used purple ink to sign their edicts.
In more recent times, the first recorded use of "eggplant" as an actual color name was in 1915 and later in 1998 when Crayola introduced its' "eggplant" crayon.
Because aubergine is so versatile and composed of both warm and cool tones, it makes for beautiful statement combinations.
The pairings are really endless. Classical combinations always put the purple shade together with metallic golds and silvers for a very royal inspired look. Similarly, aubergine dazzles against other opulent jewel-toned colors like emerald, sapphire and ruby.
To freshen it up, I have really been loving aubergine paired with bright citrus colors like clementine, and then balanced out with winter white. Take a look at the Winter Moodboard for more inspiration.
In fashion, aubergine immediately evokes a sense of elegance. It signals sophistication and given the mix of purple and brown, it is much more wearable than bright purple tones. It is a universally flattering color that complements all skin tones.
The shade shines best in rich fabrics like velvet (think blazer or pants) or in a luxe satin (think slip dress or buttoned blouse). But I personally would wear it as an accent to an all cream-colored outfit.
Pops of aubergine in accessories like belts or shoes incorporate a hint of color that creates a chic winter look without the full color commitment.
I've also noticed recently aubergine has become a popular pick for formal events, especially winter weddings. Such a pretty alternative to the classic black uniform.
Given its' versatility, the color also works just as well in design. Considered to be the "perfect purple" by the director of the Pantone Color Institute, aubergine gives a luxurious look when used in rooms. It is simultaneously cozy and elegant and brings about an unexpected twist.
I usually like to add bold color in small doses but somehow I think this color shines best by going all-in. It adds a great deal of depth and drama creating a cocoon like effect when used on both the walls and ceiling.
It is also a beautiful powder room pick pairing perfectly with brass and marble. To add an extra dose of drama, a lacquered application really transforms the space into a jewel-box like look.
Full-on aubergine is certainly not for the faint of heart so small splashes throughout the home are also very effective.
If you have a significant amount of natural light, aubergine looks beautiful as an anchor piece (think velvet sofa) in a bright white and black room. Little hints of gold, glass or other textures help to round it all out.
From aubergine colored flatware to exquisite marbled taper candles, to the simplest slip dress- this color really elevates the everyday and helps beat those winter blues.
Here are some of my favorite finds to bring the look home:
Shop the Board
Nothing says chic like a satin cami slip dress
A great gift for the wine enthusiast
These kuba cloth covered skateboard collection is perfect in a teenage room
The rose gold and amethyst combination is magic and the design so delicate
These tapers are sure to make a pop in brass candleholders
An aubergine arm chair just may be the new neutral
A throw pillow with tassels and a tiger for the bold amongst us
An aubergine alternative to the standard set
I can't get enough of her colored wineglasses and this stemless set is a stunner
A cozy throw for cold nights
Fabulous finials to add new life to existing lampshades