Power In Pink: This Season’s Hero Shade
Pink is in for 2023. But this goes beyond the usual fashion and interior trends cycle to something more symbolic. Pink is traditionally the colour of femininity, of women, of girls. So the shade becoming fashionable at a time when the world is becoming more inhospitable to women – at the start of a post-Roe v Wade era – feels notable. This is perhaps why the pink that’s in now is not the gentle, sugary shade of gendered baby blankets or Peppa Pig. It is a pink that demands attention.
Beyond Viva Magenta, Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2023, there’s the Valentino Pink PP shade – the colour of the entire Valentino spring show, and a regular on the red carpet since. There’s also the raspberry hue of Molly Goddard’s collection and the highlighter feel of Richard Quinn’s head-to-toe looks. Caroline Young, the author of The Colour Of Fashion, says the adoption of this ‘can’t-miss-me’ pink could be seen as an arch way to confound expectations around a hue of sweetness and passivity. “Think of the Molly Goddard dress worn in Killing Eve. It’s a sweet colour, but it’s worn by a psychopathic killer.”
This theory holds when applied to the Pink Pussy hats that lined the streets for the Women’s Marches in 2017. Or looking forward to Barbie. The doll is not typically seen as part of a feminist cause but a film version out in July, with Margot Robbie in the title role and Greta Gerwig directing, is likely to challenge the idea that wearing pink is code for push-over.
It was Elsa Schiaparelli who made bright pink fashionable in the ’30s – and her ‘shocking’ shade is still used by the brand today. And bright pink has never looked back. It’s been punk – The Clash’s Paul Simonon once said “pink is the only true rock ’n’ roll colour” – and there was possibly ironic, possibly entirely serious air-headed culture led by Paris Hilton and friends around the millennium when pink became a uniform. (It is surely no coincidence that pink is back amid our Y2K revival – Fuchsia Rose was Pantone’s Colour of the Year in 2001.)
Pink today is as life-giving as it always was. Shrimps’ designer Hannah Weiland calls it a mood booster: “There is a warmth and joy to it. I think an overall happiness is created by most pinks.” Georgina Huddart, the designer behind Hunza G, reveals its bubblegum-pink swimsuit is probably one of the brand’s bestsellers because “someone wearing pink feels like they are just having a good time in life”. And it is no longer gendered. Perhaps this leads to the most radical way of wearing pink. “My son, who is two years old, wears a lot of pink, and [increasingly] paints with it,” says Weiland. “He loves it because no one has told him it is not for him. I hope it stays that way.”
Lauren Cochrane is senior fashion writer at The Guardian and author of The Ten