Where fresh perspective & optimism intersect—the two extreme trends you’ll need to know in event design: “Ugly Cool” & “Dare Yellow”. These two styles will come alive at The Blackstone Hotel for Project Windows (vote for us!) 2019—a city-wide celebration of art and creativity.
Trend— “Ugly Cool”
Originality starts with controversy. Sometimes revolutionary design is initially viewed as ugly or misunderstood. Then there is this metamorphosis moment that transforms those perceived perspectives into something fresh, which we call “Ugly Cool.” This trend ties to the worlds of fashion, art, food, beauty, interiors, or our style. Freedom of expression or uniqueness is not a negative but a celebration.
A perfect example is Gucci Flora Living postcards, where a pattern created in 1966 by illustrator Vittorio Accornero de Testa is transformed into an environment that continues to woo the millennial.
The international art exhibition in Venice features the work of Ad Minoliti’s that expresses “Ugly Cool” with unbalanced framed art on realistic backgrounds—it has you perplexed, and the fluffy animal dressed mannequins in human form are intriguing, yet disturbing.
This movement has been around for a long time. It has its heroes in every era. Now we are seeing those influencers driving this movement mainstream.
Think camp at the Met.
Photo Credits: Design & Décor: Kehoe Designs | Technical Production: BlackOak Technical Productions | Venue: Sheraton Grand Chicago
Trend— “Dare Yellow”
Yellow serves as a testament to all that is good in life. Throughout the “Dare Yellow” trend board, there is a consistent theme of optimism and new beginnings. People use yellow to be bold—whether it be expressing individuality or creating a new identity. It is rare to see yellow as a symbol of subtle intent; rather, it is an intentional color choice. Bright enough to make a statement.
Maison Valentino 2018 Haute Couture was the catalyst for yellow— “power dressing.” This bold style has evolved throughout the years and has made way into the corporate arena.
Fairtrade International’s mission was to empower employees and inject everyday life into the surroundings within the office. At Fairtrade, bananas were strategically chosen for the workplace as ceiling décor to enhance company culture, keep teams motivated, and energize the atmosphere—with a smile.
The Final Collector’s Edition, releasing in 2020, marks Smart as the first automotive manufacturer in the world to switch its entire portfolio from combustion engines to electric drives. The car design represents being free, breaking boundaries, and showing rebellion. Brilliant yellow is homage to the first-generation Smart and, based on the original color, “hello yellow.”
We see that yellow is the iconic color for Gen Z and iGen—starting to make their style preference known. This group chooses the color because it is in sharp contrast to the mundane. It’s nostalgic but has a sense of humor. Expect to see variations of yellow to pop up everywhere in the next couple of years.
What does Yellow say about you??
Photo Credits: Event Hosts: Kehoe Designs, The Geraghty, BlackOak Technical Productions, Floral Exhibits, Kehoe Collection | Linen: BBJ Linen | Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art
Pop Culture Embraces “Ugly Cool”
Lady Gaga has been a hero of this movement since 2011. “Born This Way” was a breakthrough, and now she has launched Haus Laboratory—a cosmetic line with the tagline that reads “Our Haus Your Rules.” How fitting for right now!
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil shows us the viewpoint of one of the most iconic villains. This character is ill-intentioned, mean-spirited, and her body modifications display evil. What is seen on the outside may not always align with what’s inside. On the other hand, perceived beauty and kindness (Queen Ingris, played by Michelle Pfeifer) appears perfect. What seems perfect is ugly, and what is ugly is the “Anti-Hero.” Hence “Ugly Cool.”
Versace Fall Winter 2019-2020 collection speaks clearly to this trend. Be fearless. Step outside your comfort zone. Donatella Versace said, “She knows that the imperfections are perfection.”
“Ugly Cool” & “Dare Yellow”—Project Windows
Andy Warhol’s from A to B and Back Again is a wildly popular retrospect exhibition coming to the Art Institute of Chicago in mid-October. This exhibit will give a glimpse of one of the most inventive, influential artists of the 20th century. To this day, his art is an inspiration to designers everywhere.
Kehoe Designs explores the curious intersection of artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture, that was the world of Andy Warhol. In the coming weeks, our team will have designed and produced an installation of window displays at The Blackstone Hotel that is the epitome of our trends “Ugly Cool” mixed with “Dare Yellow”.
The Blackstone has such a rich history that we wanted to explore how we could bring that bit of nostalgia to life in these windows.
Polaroid Banana Portraits was the brainchild of Pamela Maurer, Creative Services Artistic Event Designer, bringing to life the celeb personalities that had stayed in the hotel. Along with a few Chicago icons. We sculpted these bananas as if they were going to a photo shoot in Andy Warhol’s famous studio. Why? In the mind of an artist, a self-portrait is boring—like a banana, you cannot help but smile. Happiness is enjoying the little things in life.
This display will carry into the holiday season—showcasing the iconic banana and Cow Series in Andy Warhol art. Our design very much like Andy Warhol’s quote, “art is what you can get away with.” Breaking the norm to tell a hyperreal story that will immerse you into the world of Ban-Andy.