An innocent online question from a West Highlands guitarist and singer for folk band Canach about the colour of a dress has turned into an internet sensation.
Caitlin McNeill, 21, from Colonsay, posted a picture of the dress on the social network Tumblr after asking her friends whether it was white and gold or black and blue.
The picture appeared with the caption: “guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f*** out.”
She said: “Two of my close friends were actually getting married and the mother of the bride took a photo of the dress to send to her daughter. When my friend showed the dress to her fiancee, they disagreed on the colour.”
Caitlin, who taught herself the guitar and attended the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton High School, in Ross-Shire, has now found fame in a way she never expected.
The post was shared across the blogging website before going viral. In a comment on her band’s Facebook page she wrote: “It seems like we’ve caused quite the stir online! This is madness!”Caitlin (pictured below) has been interviewed by media at home, Canada and the US, including BBC1’s Newsbeat, after it attracted the attention of A-list celebrities.Taylor Swift tweeted: “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.”Even Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West waded in to the discussion: “What color is that dress? I see white & gold. Kanye sees black & blue, who is color blind?”Ellen DeGeneres said on Twitter: “From this day on the world will be divided into two people. Blue & black or white & gold.”
The dress is made by clothing company Roman Originals who say it is black and blue.
Experts say the reason some see gold on white is because the picture is an optical illusion determined by effect of light on the brain. Colour is perceived in relation to the colours of the objects surrounding it.
The colour that our eyes see is a consequence of the way our eyes have developed and how they relate to light. The brain effectively discounts certain colours that may be created by shade in order to see the true colour.
The sea, for instance, can appear blue from one angle and dirty grey from another.