What began as a family dispute over the colour of the dress Cecilia Bleasdale had bought for her daughter Grace’s wedding erupted into a truly global phenomenon.
Millions took to social media to have their say over Mrs Bleasdale’s frock: was it black and blue or white and gold?
Mrs Bleasdale, from Blackpool, had sent her daughter a picture of the dress which was uploaded to microblogging site Tumblr sparking a overwhelming reaction no-one could have predicted.
The image was shared more than 20 million times as people around the world argued about the true colour of the two-tone frock, resulting in the hashtag #TheDress trending globally.
In reality, the dress consists of a royal blue body with black lace trim, but an optical illusion means it appears to some, but not all, as gold and white.
Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, the clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, said the barcode style of the dress, combined with the strongly yellow-toned backlighting in one of the photos, offers the brain a rare chance to “choose” which of the dress’ two primary colours should be seen in detail.
Those who subconsciously seek detail in the many horizontal black lines convert them to a golden hue, so the blue is interpreted as a blown-out white, he said. Others whose brains focus on the blue part of the dress see the black-and-blue reality.
Mrs Bleasdale’s daughter Angie McPhee, 37, said: “Mum sent it to Grace to give the dress a thumbs up or thumbs down.
“It was sent originally to my sister then my mum sent the picture to me and Grace said ‘Why is she wearing white and gold to the wedding?’
“We were shocked my mum had chosen a light coloured dress.”
Ms McPhee continued: “Originally I saw it as white and gold.
“Grace saw it as white and gold – her fiancé saw it as blue and black and they had a bit of a to-do about it.”
The newlyweds are currently on their honeymoon in Jamaica, apparently unaware of the sensation caused by the dress.
The bridal family were not the only ones to dispute the colour, with reality star Kardashian saying on Twitter she and her husband, rapper Kanye West, had disagreed about the colours.
X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini also took to Twitter to give her emphatic conclusion: “ITS WHITE AND GOLD !!!!” while US pop star Swift declared: “I don’t understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it’s a trick somehow. I’m confused and scared. PS it’s OBVIOUSLY BLUE AND BLACK,” while Lady Gaga was a little more lyrical, tweeting: “Its periwinkle and sand.”
However, West Wing actor Lowe found himself unable to decide, posting: “Now I’m seeing it in white and gold!”
Roman, the company which makes the £50 dress, reported a massive boost from the phenomenon, with sales up 347 per cent over expectations.
Gill McCafferty, manager of the label’s shop in Livingston, said: “Since I put it in the window, we’ve had a lot of interest. People have been asking if it was the dress, then trying it on and taking photos, it’s been manic. We could sell out at this rate. But I’m having a bit of trouble understanding how people see it as gold and white, as I know it is blue and black.”
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