Bébhinn Campbell explores the bold use of colour in fashion today.
Fashion has few rigid rules. Habits, maybe, but as a global industry it’s as open-minded as they come. This fluidity might be compromised in one particular area: colour. Pastels always welcome spring, white cotton accompanies warm summer evenings, and deep burgundies have us cosying up by the fire when the temperature drops. Last month the world woke up to colour, as London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018 broke down these seasonal stereotypes and painted the town rainbow.
Fashion week has been colour-blocked to the point where anything black or burgundy seems strangely out of place.
2017 was all about red: red knitwear, red handbags, red everything and anything. Designers such as Moschino and Maison Margiela have taken this obsession up a notch, sending rainbow-cladded models down the Autumn-Winter runway. Now, red is being accompanied by its colourful counterparts in a technicolour stream of royal blues, vivid greens, and buttercup yellows. Fashion week has been colour-blocked to the point where anything black or burgundy seems strangely out of place.
Burberry proved that bold colours can be carried off tastefully, juxtaposing the fluffy, multi-coloured exterior of a winter cape with its iconic check lining. Other statement pieces included a boxy cobalt blue tunic and a pink embellished coat. Irish designer Richard Malone made his presence memorable with his exciting use of primary colours, enhanced with dramatic shoulder construction and sixties-style boots.
The removal of predictable tones for each season has broken down an age-old obstacle in the industry, one that brings to light the temporality of fashion that is problematic in more ways than one. What does this adoption of brash tones in the cooler months mean for the fashion calendar? Can items purchased in December be worn the following July? Hopefully, the breaking-down of seasonal barriers will see fashion become more accessible year-round, and less disposable.
So, could it be that colour is the new black? Typically, an all-black look signifies class and sophistication. Think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Dior’s New Look, but brighter hues elevate our mood, and there’s a kind of nostalgia attached to Crayola tones.
The removal of predictable tones for each season has broken down an age-old obstacle in the industry
Fashion is best when it’s fun, and London Fashion Week was definitely that. We shouldn’t take style too seriously, and while black may be elegant, it’s not exactly light-hearted. In a world of fear and uncertainty, an injection of sunshine in the form of a canary yellow duffle coat might be just what we need.