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Brexit, Brains and ‘Grannyhair’ – We’re All Going Grey

  • Grey ditches drab rep to make waves in fashion, tech and design
  • Move over white – grey is also car colour of the moment
  • Experts say we turn to grey in times of political and economic uncertainty
  • Grey is associated with brains and intellect – and the quest for truth, knowledge and wisdom
  • Old is the new young – with “granny hair” and older models on the catwalk
  • A wide range of grey shades is trending for cars, homes and clothes


COLOGNE, Germany, Apr. 19, 2017 – Forget old and boring – those in the know are going grey. From hair to interiors, it’s everybody’s favourite shade right now.

Celebrities including Rihanna and Cara Delevingne are dyeing their locks grey, #GrannyHair has more than 250,000 posts on Instagram, and 63-year-old grey-haired model Lyn Slater earlier this year followed in the footsteps of Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell to sign with the prestigious Elite model agency.

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Grey isn’t just taking the fashion world by storm; it’s also the colour to be seen in when it comes to new cars, as the most popular choice for Ford customers in Europe, * knocking white from the number one spot last year. The carmaker currently offers eight different shades of grey for customers in Europe, and has offered more than 50 shades of grey around the world since the early nineties.

“We identified grey as a ‘trend colour’– one that has a shorter lifespan than core paints developed around silver, black and white – but even we’re surprised at how popular it’s become,” said Julie Francis, Ford’s colour and material design manager. “Grey is a great untapped colour, offering new ways to be cool and different in the modern age and that makes it exciting and something people are prepared to pay extra for.”

It’s not only a desire to stand out from the crowd that’s driving the trend – recent political upheaval across the globe is also turning us onto grey, according to colour psychology expert Karen Haller.

“When there is a level of insecurity and uncertainty – as we have seen following the U.S. elections and Brexit – we tend to retreat and gravitate towards things that make us safe, which is why grey is so popular,” said Haller. “This trend has really taken off because it is also a colour that recedes, allowing for more vibrant colours to take centre stage. It really depends on your outlook. For me, there’s already enough grey in the world – so I love to surround myself with the joy of colour.”

But grey represents more than just style and comfort. The colour also has more cerebral connotations, says Laurie Pressman, vice-president of the Pantone Colour Institute. “Thoughtful and contemplative, grey is the colour of intellect. We refer to the grey matter of brain and mind and thereby associate grey with representing a striving for truth, knowledge and wisdom.”

As the demand for grey shows no signs of abating, Pantone has added a wide range of the shade to its new Fashion, Home and Interiors palette. **


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Editor’s notes

Grey areas…

  • Henry Ford famously said his Model T could be painted in “any colour, so long as it’s black.” But it was also offered in grey when the model was introduced in 1908


  • Ford greys offered in Europe right now include Stealth Grey, Smoke Grey and Storm Grey


  • In January, 85-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice wowed the FROW as she closed Guo Pei’s Paris couture show in cascading red lace emblazoned with crystals


* Ford of Europe reports its sales for the European traditional markets where it is represented through National Sales Companies. They are Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland


About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 201,000 employees and 62 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. To expand its business model, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities with investments in electrification, autonomy and mobility. Ford provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  For more information regarding Ford and its products and services, please visit


Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 52,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 68,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (16 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and 8 unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

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