The history of Eurocolor began in the distant 1960, and ended in the now also distant 1999. But let’s talk about everything in order.
All fashion trends have it’s whims and side tracks. There was a time not that long ago when the standard wardrobe for women were skirt, gown or dresses. As late as the mid 1950’s there were women who never even owned a pair of trousers. There were attempts from famous designer Coco Chanel and actors like Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo to introduce slacks for women but they never succeeded among common people. After the war nylon hosiery became widely available, the response was immediate. The production was increased as a result of what seemed as an endless demand.
There were numerous manufacturers so the prices instantly fell. Already in the mid 1950’s there were industrial organizations that wanted to benefit from the new fashion. There were Nyl Suisse that later became the Comité international pour l’élégance du bas (International Committee for the Elegance of Stockings). It was an informal umbrella organization (in other words, an association of manufacturers, who work together formally to coordinate activities) that came together twice a year to ponder and decide over the coming fashion trends. They were a loosely tied bunch of people representing the different manufacturers all over Europe. Their aim or purpose was to provide nylon hosiery in a shade that went along with the other contemporary colours and shades in clothing. The concept Eurocolour was soon adapted. It meant that there were two new fashion shades presented each year. In modern terminology: one for Spring/ Summer and one for Autumn/ Winter.
Initially the concept was very successful. The Committee usually agreed on a blend of skintones and then named it as they pleased. For many years there were ancient shades as Riviera, Capri, Opera or Sahara available. Some of the later inventions as Saskia, Ambra, Inka, Perle or Muskat became evergreens for many years. But many of the shades existed once and were then gone forever. Particularly the many pale spring shades of the 1980’s are almost eradicated today. Silvia, Diana, Paloma, Sorbet, Sarah, Gavina and, the most extreme ever, Polar are all gone.
During the early 1990’s in the European recession the Committee kept on delivering new Eurocolors for no one as it seems. Many of the spring shades came in pale grey/ white tones that fitted princess Fergie but not so many others. There were debates on every single session. If the representatives of the Scandinavian countries agreed on one shade the hispanic totally disagreed. So the verdict was quite seldom unanimous. For some years there were alternate takes or choices.
Some manufacturers, like Spanish J. Rossell always gave their stockings and pantyhose different or alternate fashion shade names. Yet some others like French Dim occasionally joined the Eurocolor team. Several German and Swedish manufacturers consequently used the Eurocolor notion in their advertising throughout the 1980’s. The fashion shade was often stated. After 1995 it was more and more evident that it had become obsolete. It wasn’t advertised at all, nowhere.
There are some things worth to consider: first ever totally grey shade was Noblesse in 1983. Most of the autumn shades are a mix of brown and grey. There are exceptions like Muskat, Paola, Espresso and Mocca, but generally women don’t fancy brown clothing. The brightest one ever is Polar, the darkest are Delphi in black-gray and Paradiso in black-red.
Despite everything, including heated discussions, criticism and even accusations of uselessness, the Committee regularly performed its functions until the end of the 20th century. But in the new century, where fashion trends change almost every minute, Eurocolor has become a part of a beautiful past that will never return… to my great regret.