Does This Come in Pink?

Shades of pink as the new neutral as seen at SS18 New York Fashion Week (from left): Matthew Adams Dolan, Brandon Maxwell, Tom Ford & Oscar de la Renta.

When legendary Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, declared “pink is the navy blue of India”, she meant people in India wear bright colors. Just as navy is considered a staple neutral wardrobe color, so is pink…as of right now. The big news this season is that pink was an “of the season” color LAST SPRING/SUMMER. This year, the color of ballet slippers and watermelon has officially taken it’s place alongside nude and navy as the new neutral.

Like any decent heavyweight, pink comes with it’s fair share of bruises and bumps. For starters its history is anything but nonpartisan. Once reserved for sweet sixteen party dresses and tutus, it began arcing in a very different direction over ten years ago when mainstream menswear embraced it’s ability to add spark to the most dreary ensembles. Thus began the tone’s morph from pretty and vacuous to challenging and risky.

Once reserved for Pepto-Bismal toned  prom and bridesmaid dresses, (think Footloose or 16 Candles) pink is having a makeover.

As recent as the de-genderfication of pink may be, the color was not strongly associated with females until the early 50s, when Hollywood dolls like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfiled went gaga for it.  Prior to that, depictions of women in historical art garbed them in blue (like the Virgin Mary). In the early 20th Century pink was for two sectors: “Bon vivants” and the working class. Remember when Tom Buchanan took a run at Jay Gatsby’s pink suit? Buchanan uses Jay’s wardrobe choice to attempt to discredit his social standing, when Gatsby is described as an Oxford man Buchanan fires back:  “Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.”

Up until the 1950s, blue was a color for women, while pink was for the working class: Renoir’s Woman in A Blue Dress (left) , and Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby (as portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio)
Jayne Mansfield’s PINK PALACE – her home on Sunset and Carolwood in Los Angeles- was paramount to the girlification of pink.

Pink is also a color of many layers.  Females who once detested the gender branding that was associated with pink, now use it for disruption. It was the color of choice for a few props at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, the most memorable being the “pink pussy” hats. And then there’s the whole revamping of pink. Ever since Kanye did a fashion makeunder on his bride, Kim, attempting to make her a little more FROW worthy (Frow = front row at fashion week), dusty nude pink has been embraced as a favorite hue of women in their twenties and the brands that market to them.

The “Pink Pussy Hat” as worn during the 2017 Women’s march in Washington.
(Left) Kim’s makeunder included repeatedly wearing a dusty pink coat which gave way to (right) the dignified mature version of pink used by numerous clothing and design campaigns.

As designers put on their rose-colored glasses, the rest of us can turn to pink to compliment just about any hue from green (how Palm Beach-ish) to red, purple, navy, orange, nude, black, metallics like silver or even leopard prints. Go deep, dusk or pastel, but be sure to abandon the “pretty in pink” ideology and instead think remarkable in rose or brilliant in blush.

Pink with a side of…(from left): green at Moschino SS18, red on Lauren Santo Domingo headed to SS18 shows, orange at Elizabeth & James for SS18.

Recommended Articles