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Editor's Letter: Gray Matters

Everyone has a color. I like to think mine is gray. When a friend enters my home, my car, my closet, I usually get, “What’s with all the gray?”

Perhaps it started in studio art class in college, when I tried my hand at painting and, in an attempt to mix colors to copy my favorite Matisse painting, “Blue Nude,” I discovered gray was the sum total of all the colors combined.

And a few years ago, when I was pregnant with my third child, Carolina, and desperate to shirk my city uniform of basic black, I discovered gray. It didn’t scream like yellow or red; it merely whispered, “I’m not trying too hard.”

But it was when my 11-year-old daughter, Bella, said, “Gray is not a color, Mommy,” that I finally realized it was all the difference I needed to stand on my own, but still blend in.

So, when we decided to put together this Color Issue on fashion and design, I wanted it to go beyond my immediate 3-mile scope of, say, the slate-colored sky that hovers over the Southampton beach—the very beach that inspired our Surf Issue last month—and venture to where people live out their kaleidoscopic lives: driving their bright red Ferraris (Eric Striffler’s “Colors of the East End”), relaxing in their green media rooms (Holly Peterson’s “Color Therapy”) and enjoying beloved possessions—and obsessions—satisfied by the most vibrant of my designing friends, like Emma Pilkington, Lulu deKwiatkowski and Madeline Weinrib.

And who better than actress Julianne Moore, who now lives in fiery Montauk and has the most colorful aura of all the stars, to grace our cover?

However, I was careful to follow the wise words of another pal, designer Stacey Bendet, so there’s no neon in the issue. As she said in our Guild Hall Fashion Series interview last week, “No one over 6 should wear neon!”

Finally, while I left my penchant for gray out of this issue, truth be told, my fascination with it goes even further back—to age 14, when at the Chapin School I was first introduced to poetry and to William Butler Yeats, whose poem “When You Are Old” showed me that age is a color, not a number.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

So, even though I—like you, probably—can chart my life in “periods” of color, starting with pink, then yellow, then green, navy blue, black and white—and even a purple period—gray has always been the color of my future, the color of my dreams. Full of depth, with no end in sight.

Dream on.

—Cristina Cuomo

P.S.: Follow me on Instagram and Twitter, @cristinacuomo