Cast your mind back to last year and you might recall the colour gurus – PANTONE – presenting two shades as their ‘Color of the Year’. It was the very-first time they’d split the limelight, and the colours in question went by the names of Rose Quartz and Serenity. These incarnations of pink and blue were at the pale end of the spectrum; they were a little ethereal and a lot romantic. Formerly they might have been branded in the saccharine camp of ‘baby pink’ and ‘baby blue’, but gradually the fashion and interior design industries have pulled them out of a sugary pit to give rise to a more refined palate (or palette as the case may be). Pale is the new baby. And pale shades brought together were no longer viewed as being just for the sweet-toothed. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive DIrector at the Pantone Color Institute explained, quite convincingly: “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer, embracing rose tone and the cooler, tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.” A new dawn of pastels beckoned.
The fashion houses of the world have long played with a powdered palette. Sherbet yellows, minted greens, subtle tangerine and of course, blush pink and light blue, have sashayed down catwalks in everything from outwear to underwear, with bags and footwear joining in the brigade too. But it’s only in the last few years that we’ve witnessed the seismic shift that has brought pretty pastels into the main arena, with pale pink leading the way and soft blues not too far behind.
In terms of wearability, both colours work with every skin tone (lighter, creamier pastels go especially well against a darker skin colour whereas richer pastels pair better with lighter skin) and with every hair colour. They’re age-defying and can be worn just as convincingly by a twentysomething as they can an eighty-something – it’s no secret that the Queen is a loyal fan. And they’re now deemed more-than-suitable for any occasion, from the board room and beyond. Of course, smart tailoring is key. Wear pale pink with ruffles and frills and all the industry’s hard work begins to come undone, and before you know it, you’re back entering bridesmaid territory. Instead, opt for minimalism and be guided by the principles of less is more. Clean, sharp lines, classic cuts or androgynous silhouettes, sculptural forms and luxurious yarns are what’s needed to make sure these soft-focus shades remain elevated. Follow this advice and you’ll quickly discover the joys of pastel colour-blocking, where multiple pale shades can be worn in perfect symphony. It comes as no surprise that our two hero hues are our favourite coupling. Neutrals are a great way to break them up, so don’t be afraid of light greys, cream and white either. They keep the look demure and gentle. Or, go for navy if you’d prefer to introduce some depth.
Our current spring/summer collection felt like the right time to make these sky-toned hues part of our narrative. They’ve made their mark, they’re known as colours to be taken seriously, and now, they’re worn by those who want to embrace femininity, confidently and compassionately. So to celebrate all things pale and beautiful, we’ve created an edited selection of designs that will take you from coat to shirt to skirt.
This summer, we’ll be proud to be pale.