by Gina Brennan
This time last year, Cannes Film Festival fashion was all about hot pink. With everyone from Anne Hathaway to Katherine Langford dressed in the colour. But will we still be seeing this shade as we approach Summer 2023?
Officially arriving on Valentino’s Autumn/Winter 2022 runway in March 2022, the Pierpaolo Piccioli Pink runway took the fashion world by storm.
Although trends change quicker than ever in an age of TikTok, it seems likely to stay - with Pantone naming magenta as the colour of the year for 2023.
Pink is a powerful colour. It is rooted in red, so enjoys the associations of love, strength, and anger while remaining soft and approachable.
Piccioli himself perhaps put it best: “Pink has the quality of being strong without actually wanting to; it is the perfect metaphor of poetry: gentleness and disruptiveness.”.
So why has this pink paradise had such an impact on us? In a time characterised by isolation, rising poverty, political uncertainty, and war, hot pink offers hope through colour.
The neon literally brightens the day. It comes in sharp contrast to the deep brown and earthy colours favoured over the pandemic years, and bursts into existence able to make anyone wearing it unmissable. After years of people remaining alone and unseen it’s the perfect colour to re-enter the world in.
The use of hot pink in reaction to an unpleasant world is not new. Way back in 1937, Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli made ‘Shocking Pink’ her signature colour, and consequently the colour favoured by the fashionable crowd in the following years.
This bright hue stood out from the other, more moderate shades used throughout World War 2, and was a way to disconnect from the rising tensions and eventual conflict of this period. It was an escape from the darkness of the real world. The current use of PP Pink serves the same purpose.
Wearing pink is also a rebellion against misogynistic ideas of the past. There are countless women speaking about how they hated pink as children, desperate to be seen as ‘not like other girls’. Now we understand how repressive this thinking is, these women are eager to reclaim their femininity and wear it loud and proud. How better to do that than to step out head-to-toe in hot pink?
While it turned heads upon the release of the Valentino runway, the shock value of the neon has worn down a bit. Seeing the pink fall from couture runways, to celebrity birthday parties, to mid-level influencers, and finally to the high-street has cheapened its appearance somewhat.
Looking at the Valentino Spring/Summer 2023 runway it would be easy to assume hot pink has risen and already fallen, with the runway returning to neutral browns and blacks. It would seem that, by the summer of 2023, we may have forgotten all about the ‘cultural reset’ of monochrome pink.
With this view, there is a gloomy outlook for the future of hot pink in our wardrobes. However, two women may stand in the way of the resurgence of neutrals for the summer. The power these two women wield could singlehandedly negate the runway impact and transform our bikini collection from brown to neon pink, a feat some would say is impossible.
Despite the unfeasible nature of this task, I am certain that these two women can overcome the biggest fashion houses in the world to make sure our wardrobe stays pink. The women I am talking about are, of course, Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie.
The Barbie movie is due for release right at the beginning of summer, and is shaping up to be an influence on culture and couture.
If you have any doubts about this movie’s potential impact, let me put them to rest. After the trailer’s release, searches for ‘blonde hair dye’ increased by 157%, ‘pink clothes’ by 174% and ‘pink’ in general by a whopping 416%. Gerwig and Robbie have ensured that hot pink is back at the forefront of everyone’s minds when it comes to dressing, just in time for summer.
And the monochromatic mania can be seen in Robbie’s latest cover shoot for Vogue Magazine where her president look was a head-to-toe baby pink Chanel Haute Couture dress.
PP Pink may have disappeared from the runways, but it is a given that ‘Barbie pink’ has taken its place and is here to stay. Come on Barbie, let’s go party – and bring hot pink into summer 2023.
Edited by Emily Duff