After months of neutrals, darker hues and holiday reds, we’re about to see a colour shift next season. Last season’s bold brights are being swapped in favour of sweet pastels. Designers from Jason Wu to Chloe to Ralph Lauren re-introduced spring fashion classics like pretty pinks, blues and purples in everything from evening wear to separates. We break down six of the biggest colour fashion trends poised for popularity this spring.
Colour fashion trends: Tangerine tango
Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2012
Pantone declared Tangerine Tango as the “colour of the year,” for 2012 which means we’ll see a lot of this vibrant reddish orange. It appeared on the Spring 2012 runways at Alexander McQueen in the form of a sculptural coral-like cocktail dress, and it took the form of a dreamy but sexy see-through dress at Alberta Ferretti. Sephora is rumoured to launch a collaboration with Pantone sometime in spring, so Tangerine Tango will undeniably end up in our beauty bags as well.
Colour fashion trends: Pretty in pink
Yves Saing Laurent Spring/Summer 2012
Get ready to embrace your feminine side this spring. Pink – from soft, pastel separates at Calvin Klein to swaths of fuchsia under streamlined suits at Yves Saint Laurent – will be a staple next season. With its ability to brighten up any outfit, pink makes an ideal accent shade. Weave it into your wardrobe with a mix of accessories (bags, bangles and scarves) or use it as an eye-catching layer (try a pink cardigan over a grey shift dress). This spring look for pink to be versatile and work for both day and night.
Colour fashion trends: Under-the-sea turquoise blue
Chanel Spring/Summer 2012
As a welcome contrast to winter’s notoriously grey skies, cheerful turquoise reminiscent of Caribbean seas, will make a splash for Spring 2012 and offers a fashionable freshness that we miss from November to March. Used to anchor the frills of Chanel’s gauzy knee-length dresses, add punch to Elie Tahari’s billowy pants and keep vintage-inspired dresses by Miu Miu, the shade boasts a liveliness and versatility that makes it easy to wear. From sophisticated separates (think chic, fitted blazers) to fresh,
fun accessories (belts and even pumps and loafers), blue will become a common colour choice as the weather warms up.
More amazing spring fashion colours – think lavender, mustard and chocolate – on the next page…
Colour fashion trends: Chocolate brown
Derek Lam Spring/Summer 2012
Rich, chocolate brown offers a counterbalance to some of the brighter hues making their way into the spring style spotlight and will work as an anchor to the
season’s colour spectrum. Whether worn in knee-length leather skirts as showcased at Rachel Zoe or brown leather blazers with edge at Derek Lam, the colour works in tandem with other on-trend tones like blue, white and even pink. Acne and Thimnister used the shade to give oversized pants and shirts an earthy elegance and casual chic quality, perfect for taking into a new season. Give chocolate brown a chance this spring in the form of fitted, tailored trousers paired with softer pastel shades or cropped jackets with a slim silhouette over blouses and sweaters in bolder hues.
Colour fashion trends: Lavender
Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2012
Lavender this spring will be more than a hue reserved for bridesmaid’s dresses. The often dated quality of the floral-inspired shade will be replaced with a more modern twist as showcased at Alexander McQueen where Sarah Burton used lavender in a flirty, eye-catching way with lace, ruffles and body-skimming designs. Stay away from head-to-to lavender and instead look for ways to subtly add the spring-ready shade to your overall look. A slouchy shoulder bag, pretty pumps or fitted T-shirt make great ways to showcase the colour.
Colour fashion trends: Yellow
Giambattista Valli Spring/Summer 2012
Last year’s it-colour comes back with a vengeance to offer a darker, murkier approach to the shade. Think less neon and more mustard, yellow this spring will be more wearable and even work as a versatile accompaniment to classic neutrals (as showcased by Matthew Williamson’s pairing of bright yellow pants with browns and beige). We also saw Holly Fulton use yellow to add pop to mod print dresses and Giambattista Valli use the on-trend hue to freshen up brocade. While not for everyone yellow can be embraced in many ways that don’t require a trip outside your style comfort zone. Go darker or lighter with this hue to maintain a more upscale look.
Colour fashion trends: White
Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012
While we may have seen white become a cold weather staple (on everything from wool coats to faux fur pieces), the cool, crisp hue won’t be going anywhere come spring. White made a statement in lace at Louis Vuitton, structured, flared dresses at Valentino and sporty separates at Chanel. White for spring is fresh, feminine and less stark than we saw this winter. Inject your collection of basic black and understated neutrals with a dose of bright white – think fitted blazers, mod, A-line dresses and lightweight, casual knits paired with everything from dark denim to pencil skirts.
No matter your current style palette, spring is a great opportunity to breathe new life into your wardrobe and experiment with bolder, fresher hues.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter