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One Is the Loveliest Color

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Elizabeth Sweetheart
Fabric Designer. Kelly green.

Why green?
I’m from Nova Scotia, where green is in your surroundings. I missed nature when I moved to New York. I started wearing green nail polish, and it spread all over me.

When did you move here?
I hitchhiked down in 1964. I had long braided hair; I was a beatnik.

Where did you live?
We used to live on the Lower East Side. A hippie gang was on our block, and you had to know them to get down the street. They had weapons and chains. They babysat for our son.

What’s your son up to these days?
Sam is a mentalist, a magician. It’s classic mind-reading; he’ll memorize a deck of cards. He’s our one and only.

How long have you been married?
Forty-one years. Every Saturday morning, we’d say, “Maybe we’ll make it to City Hall this morning.” We missed a few because we slept late. Finally, we went and got married. We didn’t have a ring, so my husband, Robert, made one out of paper.

Do you have any grandchildren?
No, but I have a grand-puppy. My son asked me to babysit him, and I airbrushed his tail green. Sam flipped out.

Tell me about your style.
I always wear overalls. I have 30 pairs. I buy children’s sizes from GapKids and Chadwick’s. And I dye everything—my Nike sneakers, my underwear. I can’t fall asleep unless I’m wearing green.

Do you wear green to work?
Every day. I’ve been in the design business over 44 years.

How do strangers react?
Many people say, “Oh! That’s my favorite color.” On 42nd Street, tourists ask to take my photo. I take the F train and know everyone on it—kids, Japanese girls with green in their hair, all the junkies. I’ve never had a negative experience.


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