What’s Going On This Spring?

If you have so much as opened a fashion magazine in the past few months, you may have noticed a recurring theme which is set to continue dominating everything from the catwalk to the highstreet this spring; yes, it’s pink.

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Pink was everywhere in the collections of A/W 2013-14, and in all of its various guises; Lanvin’s use of the colour was soft and feminine, as in the case of this dress here, which creates a beautiful silhouette for both night and day.

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Meanwhile, Yves Saint-Laurent used pinks to add a feminine twist to a tough, grungy look; I love the way that the delicately patterned tights and lace panel in the black dress tie the whole look together, from the heavy, I-mean-business boots, to the soft, slouchy cardigan.

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Celine paired a classically structured pink coat with a soft grey dress and boots, to create a look which is not quite severe, but not at all soft or “girly.” What I like about this pastel shade is that it makes a statement without screaming at you; its not like “look at how pink I am!!” instead allowing the whole ensemble to work together to make a visual impact.

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Oh, and Rochas did this;

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Karl Lagerfeld once said “think pink, but don’t wear it.” I’m afraid to say that I’m pretty much with him on this one; I don’t think that I own a single item of pink clothing, simply because I don’t think I’ve ever found an item of pink clothing that I like!

However, I have decided to reserve judgement on this trend for now, and have a look back over how some of the most glamorous people in the world have made pink work for them in the past; after all, if its good enough for fashion’s elite, it must surely be good enough for me!

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It all began with Italian designer Elsa Schiapperelli, who, along with Coco Chanel, is considered one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. Closely aligned with the Dadaism and Surrealism, she often collaborated with the leading artists of the day and is credited with bringing their sense of playfulness and abandonment of tradition into her pieces.

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Schiapperelli made use of new materials and technologies, such as the invention of non-fade chemical dyes, to utilise the full potential of pink, and in 1931 she created a whole new shade; shocking pink. Her designs were very often characterised by the colour, and she released a controversial new perfume, Shocking, which came in a bottle shaped like a shocking pink woman’s bust.

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One of the most iconic moments in the subsequent history of pink remains Marilyn Monroe in that glamorous satin piece in the famous 1953 film, Gentleman Prefer Blondes. Designed by costume designer William Travilla, the strapless, floor length little number was worn with gloves and jewels in perhaps the film’s most famous scene, in which Monroe sings Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.

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Over the past sixty years, Monroe’s pink gown has become a cultural icon in its own right, having been imitated and parodied numerous times, perhaps most famously by Madonna in her music video for Material Girls in 1984.

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Whereas Marilyn’s dress lends an extravagance and sensuality to her flamboyant character, actress Grace Kelly utilises pink in a very different way in Hitchcock’s How To Catch A Thief. This ensemble was a request by Grace to the film’s costume designer, Edith Head, and is fairly different to what she wears in the character of Frances throughout the rest of the film. Ms Kelly apparently wanted to restore a “womanly” feel to Frances’ character, showing her embracing her femininity (which, culturally, would have been expressed perfectly through this outfit at the time) as part of her character. I think it is so interesting how important costume is in the creation of a believable on-screen character, and how much difference costume can make to the way that we perceive a narrative.

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Another well-known figure to bring pink back into the forefront of fashion was Jackie Kennedy; although much of this was unfortunately due to the tragic circumstances of her husband’s assassination in 1963. She famously wore the pink Chanel suit that she had been wearing on the day of John F Kennedy’s death at the inauguration of President Johnson, and for the flight back to Washington with Kennedy’s body; the suit was still stained with her husband’s blood. “I want them to see what they have done to Jack,” she said.

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Jackie’s pink suit has become an emblem for both her husband’s assassination, and (in many ways) the 1960s as a whole. Many people see it as a symbol of the First Lady’s impeccable grace and strength. It has been described by some as “the most legendary garment in American history,” and as “one of those indelible images Americans had stored: Jackie in the blood-stained pink Chanel suit.”

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Another 1960s cultural icon was to get her pink on in much happier circumstances, using that bright colour among others to convey a modern look which was in keeping with the new trends and silhouettes of the decade. Supermodel Twiggy, famous for her slim figure, big eyes and pale lips, often modelled the shift dresses and mini-skirts which had become so popular at the time, often in bright, block colours; including pink, as you can see here.

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Twiggy wears this simple dress with pale tights and big, bauble earrings in silver, to match her silver shoes. I think this adds that sixties, space-age feel to the ensemble as a whole, and I just love it!

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With such a variety of strong, powerful cultural icons donning pink over the past few decades, and making it work for them, I am feeling a little more encouraged. Whilst I probably won’t be splashing out on a hot pink coat or dress any time soon, I am feeling a great deal more open-minded! With so many thousands of shades, looks and styles out there, there must be something can find to incorporate into my wardrobe…right?

Are there any other victims of Pink Phobia out there? Is this a trend best left  ignored? Or,  in the face of the Pink Revolution, is it time to face our fears and branch out into the realms of rose and fuchsia?

It looks like pink isn’t just for Wednesdays any more!

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