In heated pursuit of the white stuff

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The Independent Culture
The paint business has come a long way from a hint of a tint (get bold with Barley White). Targeted colour ranges are the new direction and the whole thing is very directional, as the fashion people would say. In fact, interior fashion is getting very like the rag trade. There are National Trust colours and go fogey in Frinton and the Italian earth colours and with Tony in Tuscany and and the violent saturated mauves and citrus colours they use in mainstream Restaurant Modernism. Each has a package, a brand, an aesthetic, a niche market and a tight statement for one or other segment of the huge shelter magazine sector in everything from Wallpaper to Period Living, with Feng Shui for Modern Living along the way.

But it is different when you are advertising Dulux to the millions on telly. You've got to acknowledge the new appetite for colour and colour fashion in the world of Changing Rooms but you can't get too specific or too modish. Instead of modish, Dulux gets moody and the mood is a bit "Close your eyes and drift downstream" and a bit "Open them wide for a bit of the timeless beauty of the Third World".

So the mood is soft, experimental, Spiritual Lite. An intense refined Tourist drifting round traditional rural China in a long skirt, scraped back hair and bare feet. And the woman who wants to dangle those feet in a Chinese river is a little bit Kirsten Scott-Thomas, a little bit Merchant Ivory, and altogether more than a little bit sensitive and elemental.

And wouldn't you just know it, she is inspired by the colours she sees in the blue of sky and water and the intense red of the petals the coolie- hatted peasants cast on the stream. And so we get Luna Blue. Just imagine, says the on-screen text, wherever you get your inspiration we can match it. Which presumably comes down to the Mixmaster machine throbbing away in B&Q to supply Luna Blue. Mrs Questine in Twickenham finds it a soothing background for her lacquer boxes and rattan baskets and interesting hand- carved candlesticks.