Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Blue Heaven?

Malibu skies are often blue, but seldom Malibu Blue. Curious, and curiouser.

Are you blue? Apparently Malibu is. It’s even an official web-safe Pantone color: 17-4435 TPX Malibu Blue. I know how Prussian blue, and cobalt blue, cerulean blue, Egyptian blue and French ultramarine got their names and I understand Tiffany blue, named for the gem-quality turquoise that became the signature color of the jewelry firm, but Malibu blue? Who decided that this seaside community should give its name to a slightly muddy turquoise color, and when?

Pantone Color  17-4435 TPX Malibu Blue

Do you see anything here that looks like 17-4435 TPX Malibu Blue?

Of course, no one asks permission to name things Malibu—there’s the brand of rum, the car, the outdoor lighting company, dozens of clothing companies, and even a whole host of competing Malibu cosmetics and skin care products.

For a while, the Malibu City Council had a bee in its bonnet about “branding” Malibu and making money off of its own line of brick-a-brac. Local wits quipped that if Beverly Hills can have a signature perfume, Malibu should, too, provided it smells authentically of waste water and skunk.

Somehow the Malibu blue revolution slipped past me without notice. No amount of Googling here at the Malibu Post revealed its origins, but today the savvy consumer can have Malibu blue tennis shoes, bridesmaid’s dresses, tuxedos, silk ties, hospital scrubs and underwear—the Cleo Lucy bra,  “Designed for the full-busted and full-figure woman." A sales description proclaims: “featured in Ladies Home Journal online in "Bras Beyond Boring Beige.”  

British lingerie firm Panache's "Malibu Blue" Cleo Lucy bra.
Malibu blue Vans

Malibu blue frou-frou.

Not everyone, however, has jumped upon the Malibu blue bandwagon. Malibu Rum seems not to have realized the potential of this color for new and bizarre cocktail options. True, they have a Malibu Red (an unholy union of rum and tequila), and a “ready to drink” “Malibu Blue Hawaiian” that comes in a plastic bag, but they’re clearly missing out on the opportunity to create a Malibu blue zombie.

Malibu Red, but no Malibu Blue, not yet.

There is a blue 2014 Chevy Malibu, but it’s Atlantis Blue Metalic. Clearly they’re missing out, too, unlike Audi, which was apparently hip to the chromatic shift in 2010. was not optimistic about the color:

Nice find here of a Malibu Blue Audi TT RS. Malibu Blue is the reported name of this light blue metallic...we remain not yet won over on Malibu Blue. Visions of Barbie come to mind but we’ll hold off on making a final opinion until we’ve seen it live and in the alloy.”

A Malibu Blue 2010 Audi. 

So, where did all of this Malibu Blue come from? Who knows, but Germancarblog might have been onto something with that thought of Barbie: the original 1971 Malibu Barbie Doll came with a pale aqua swim suit.

The original 1971 Malibu Barbie rocked a pale aqua blue swimsuit.  
An aqua one-piece swim suit for someone famous for wearing hot pink bikinis? Barbie may be plastic but she’s one smart doll. Clearly she was decades ahead of the trend. 

What a relief to know that in 2014, one's bridesmaids can arrive at one's dream wedding attired from their undies to their suede pumps in this particular shade of turquoise, so as not to clash with the groom's bow tie, or the ocean. And if nature won't suffice for a matching bouquet, dried flowers dyed Malibu Blue are the answer to a wedding planner's prayer.

Custom Manolo Blahnik Malibu blue suede shoe—in five heel heights, $595, available from Neiman Marcus.

Blue groom (I saw you standing alone)

Malibu Blue-tinted statice flowers.

There's nothing wrong, really, with 17-4435 TPX Malibu Blue. It's just, it doesn't offer much scope for the imagination. Not when the real Malibu has an abundance of astonishing shades of blue almost every day. Right now we have Dume turquoise, deep Corral Beach blue, and phthalocyanide blue-green Westward wave. There's Santa Ana sky blue, and top of Zuma Ridge sky blue, and the color that the ocean turns during clear winter weather—it looks that way all along the coast on the drive to Oxnard right now. And then there's the translucent after-the-rain azure that is sadly missing from the color scheme this winter. 

An entire gamut of blues is visible from the top of Point Dume on a clear day.

There’s blue jay blue, too— often one of the brightest Malibu blues on a gray day in the garden, unless you are lucky enough to have an overwintering western blue bird in residence. 

Mussel-shell blue—one of numerous authentic Malibu shades of blue.
If the drought ever ends, we can look forward to ceanothus blue covering the hills, and all over the acres scared by the Springs Fire, the ephemeral blue of California canterbury bells. Until then, here's wishing you blue waves, blue skies and blue horizons—colors that are beyond price and still free to everyone.

Why stop at blue? Why not enjoy a splash of Malibu Crimson, Violet and Orange?

Color in sky, Prussian blue
Scarlet fleece changes hue
Crimson ball sinks from view
Wear your love like heaven,
 Wear your love like heaven,
Wear your love like heaven.


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