Picture this: Aphrodite races to her lover, Adonis, as he lay dying. In the haste of passion, she cuts her feet on the thorns of a rosebush (shoes much?). End scene. This is how the colour rose got its name.
You could say that Rose is a deeply dashing hue that holds all the fervour of the gods. And all this fiery melodrama is why today we throw them at weddings and give them on Valentine's Day. More recently, you might also associate roses with Schitt's Creek, Bette Midler, or even The Golden Girls (vale Betty White).
But these blooming lovely flowers date back a whopping 35 million years! And they’re no lightweights either – in 2006, a rare rose variety aptly called ‘Juliet’ scored a $15.8 million price tag.
So make like Édith choosing to see la vie en rose, and bloom in a bold signature colour.
Call it anything but pink
Researchers at Pantone found the colour pink is being adapted more by men than ever before. Shirtmakers like Pink in London and Ralph Lauren's pink polo shirts have helped make it a popular colour among men.
Don’t want to wear pink? Rose is your happy hybrid, being the halfway point between red and magenta. Rose is warm, luxe and equal parts muted and vibrant.
Technically a shade of red (not pink), if you were mixing Rose on a palette: you’d start with red, tease in a teensy bit of blue and then add white: voilà! And because it makes every skin tone sing, it’s highly versatile; almost akin to a neutral in wearing and pairing ability.
And whilst Rose is clearly not pink, it’s hard to think about the colour without thinking about baby clothes. ‘Ooooooh, a bouncing baby girl – swaddle her in pink!’. Thankfully gendered colour is fast becoming an archaic binary for new parents. Which makes sense because gendered colour is only a relatively recent thing. In the 18th century, it was all the rage for men to sport pink silk suits with floral embroidery.
It wasn’t until you could find out the sex of a child while they were still cooking that the fashion industry thought – ‘cha-ching!’ By creating boys vs girls clothes, hand-me-downs could only go to the ‘right’ gender, meaning – more purchases.
The lesson? Don’t let capitalism sway your sartorial swagger!
The oldest living rose is 1,000 years old and it grows on a wall on the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.
Think rose, think scent, and of course, memory.
From places to faces, most of us have an association with the smell of roses: Nanna’s hug, or Mum’s potpourri that she put out for book club, or even perhaps Uncle Jim’s whiff of Egoiste by Chanel.
But the scent of a rose is elaborate and elusive. It changes with the time of day; early morning is when they smell the sweetest. Cutting a rose from the bush changes the release of chemicals, which means they smell different by the time they reach the vase.
As a fundamental base in fragrance, the rose is easy on the nose and features a woody, musky, fruity, clove-y and myrrh-ish notes. Perfume is emotive and expressive, and the versatility of the rose aroma works across generations, seasons and also genders.
Deconstruct the rose aroma and you’ll find inherently masculine facets: lemony-citrus, honey, green-leaf, pepper, and even animalic.
Not just fragrant, the rose is also a celebrated culinary ingredient in Persia in the form of rose petals, rosebuds, rose tea and rose water. These pretty 60-petal sensations grow in fields that have flourished in Iranian culture for over 700 years. In flower season, the entire city of Kashan is rose-scented.
And if you attend a Persian funeral, rose water will be poured on your palm. Guests then rub and put it on their face because the scent is believed to fortify the heart and dull the pain of grieving.
Guns n’ Roses
People in Tudor times didn’t eat with a fork – they ate using knives, spoons and their fingers. And some of the board games the Tudors played are still enjoyed today, such as chess, backgammon and card games.
When it comes to the juicy drama of the monarchy and the age-old struggle for wealth and power, it doesn’t get much racier than English royalty. Need evidence? Flick through any magazine next time you’re at the hairdressers.
And the rose? Historically, it’s been a central image of these regal rumpuses.
Take the house of York, represented by the white rose while the house of Lancaster was aligned with the red rose. These two houses went head to head in the Battle of Bosworth Field between 1455 and 1485, which was retrospectively penned as the War of the Roses by Sir Walter Scott in his 1829 novel, Anne of Geierstein.
Shakespeare was also a big fan of the rose, immortalising it no less than 70 times and helping to shape it as an enduring symbol of love, charm, beauty and pain. One such example is in Henry VI, when the Earl of Warwick picks a white rose from the Temple-garden to align with the house of York, and says:
'And here I prophesy: this brawl today,
Grown to this faction in the Temple garden,
Shall send, between the Red Rose and the White,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night.'
The War of the Roses came to an end when Henry VII (of Lancaster) was tactically crowned king of England. He wed Elizabeth (of York) in 1486, effectively integrating the two dynasties and solidifying his legacy as the ‘peacemaker king'. In doing so, he also created the Tudor Rose (aka ‘the flower of England’): five inner white petals for the house of York and five outer red petals for the house of Lancaster.
Wear of the Roses
Rose is the shade of love, potency and optimism. So effective as a colour, it’s been known to elevate your blood pressure and adrenaline. So channel all this electric energy and tackle the world in a limited edition Rose coloured Magic Fit® Tee, available now in our versatile midweight, 145GSM Organic Cotton.