It is hard for me to pin point the true foundation of my obsession with pale pink. Is it the beautiful pale satin ballet pumps, which I still wear as shoes in the summeriest of months? Or perhaps my Mama’s beautifully-destroyed pointe shoes that hang around my home like trophies of a past career. I adore the ballet, and often work with ballerinas so the link there is clear. It reminds me of my childhood; my mother was a dance teacher and I used to attend all of her classes, whatever level she was teaching. The sound of the pointe shoes of the Corps moving across a stage is one of my favourite sounds of all time. My biggest regret is giving up ballet. That and ever smoking my first cigarette. Which actually brings me onto my second wave of pale pink obsession – those teen consuming Pink Ladies jackets. My preference is actually Stephanie Zinone’s version in Grease 2; it was cool, silky and reversible and I still want it now.
The problem with pinks is that they generally are seen as ‘girly’. I have several be-babied friends and a regular request is ‘no pink’. As a non-childholder myself, I often think this is a mean ploy to entrap strangers into taking wild 50/50 chances as to the sex of the baby. Of course I would say that, I am one of those un-babied people who thinks all parents and or marrieds have some weird secret code whereby they must punish singles for any decisions they made to the contrary of their own fully paid-up family life.
I like that my association with pink is both romantic and delicate (ballet) and tough and cool (Rizzo). There is a art to selecting the right shade of pink. It is an art that fashion maestro Marc Jacobs found when designing his Marc by collection for S/S ’14; not only was there pale pink, but it was exactly the right pale pink. Pale pink, low slung, wide-legged trousers from heaven. Colours and fabrics that reminded me of jockeys silks and cheerleaders, and a more structured slouchy suit oozing luxury and coolness in a grown-up way. Carven and Simone Rocha also championed this hue last season, although it was a little punchier in the heavier woollen fabrics used for A/W collections.
My pink rules used to be simple; shoes, nails, silk-satin quilted vintage bed jackets were a ‘Yes’, everything else, a ‘No’. This season has truly turned everything on its head and like a child obsessed with becoming actual Barbie in the 1950’s. I want coats and trousers and lipstick and suits, oh MY!
In order to keep pink sharp it needs some cool. Trainers work, black leather is good, and so is white – Converse, Saint Laurent, Air Max, Superga, Dunlop green flash and Stan Smiths – whatever takes your fancy, but try and keep them boxfresh to keep the scruffy teen dream away from this look. Otherwise I propose leopard as a modern bedfellow for Pink. Let’s be clear though, this is NOT tight sexy leopard. Think chic, oversized, 1960’s-inspired and you’re there. A big slouchy leopard print coat with an Olsen Twins bag lady vibe? Perfection.
Patent fabric looks set to hang around for a little longer, so whilst investing in a pale pink patent skirt may be verging into fetish wear territory, this is the time to have a go if you’ve ever fancied it. I would recommend A-line mini or pencil styles only, worn with thick woollen tights and a fitted polo neck. Cool bright or printed heels easily de-princess pink, and Sophia Webster has come up trumps with these metallic heart-decorated pumps. The British Cordwainers and RCA alumni won the Emerging Talent Award at the British Fashion Awards last year, and there is a reason for that – her shoes are frivolous, fun and the perfect antidote to this frankly ridiculous weather.
I always advocate the need to balance a look. Tight top plus baggy trousers and vice versa. A batwing shirt with a pair of Hepburn-esque cigarette pants? Yes. A long sleeved roll neck with Oxford Bags? Absolutely. After you’ve chosen your pink piece, the rest of your outfit should be A. the same colour, and B. a neutral colour. Please note that black and white/cream are the irregular verbs here, otherwise navy works well as do browns and nude. Actually other pastels look great too, but I would generally limit these to accessories to avoid looking too saccharine. And of course polka dots are totally acceptable, likewise stripes, and contrast collars!
What is great about the pink love is that it’s an investment colour. It was big for A/W ’13 and just as prevalent on the runways of S/S ‘2014. Get something now and it’s guaranteed to work for the next couple of seasons – it’s fashion maths that makes sense. And this brings me on to my last piece of practical advice; I strongly recommend that you lock down an amazing dry cleaner before embarking this craze with too much gusto. Purest palest truest most delectable pink attracts drinks and dirt like you would never believe, no matter how much of a lady you are…