Last year’s runways and streets were flooded with so much pink some thought we would never see the color’s demise. Then in January, the nation saw the hue knitted into the infamous “Pussy Hats.” But now, the color pink has taken a much darker turn, both literally and metaphorically. The various shades of pink we saw last year have grown up to take on their womanly, more adult form – red is the new pink.
In the current state of turmoil around the world, designers chose the color red to represent strength and boldness of its wearers. But designers aren’t the only ones pushing the trend. Organizers of the first “Day Without a Woman” protest, held in March on International Women’s Day, called for women to not only to refrain from their duties, but to wear red as well.
The same theme applied this April during Equal Pay Day, where women donned red outfits to symbolize how women are “in the red” due to the fact that they continue to earn 20 percent less than men. The day, celebrated this year on April 4th, symbolizes how far women would have had to work to make the same salary as the average man in 2016.
The variability of the color’s meaning, ranging from anger to passion to power, allows designers to communicate a range of messages. And like the color black, red has never gone out of style. In addition to being displayed on various pieces throughout many collections this season, red was used in runway beauty looks as well. Jason Wu painted it onto his model’s lips while Brandon Maxwell let nail genius Deborah Lippmann paint it onto his model’s nails. Who could forget when Model Sean Levy allowed stylists to dye her hair neon red before sporting a jet-black coat for Saint Laurent?
The color red has also been used by studios to make statements about their creative directors and the future of their brands. Givenchy chose to do their entire fall collection in red as a way to celebrate Riccardo Tisci’s twelve-year career. The studio team showed they recognized trends in their infancy, even without a creative director to guide them. Other haute couture houses like Alexander McQueen took a more subtle route by accenting neutral pieces with red details. Such bold accents provided a nod to female and youth power, a motif which dominated the show’s entirety. Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller said goodbye to the brand after a six-year career as creative director with a romantic, yet heavyhearted red velvet heart cutout. Interestingly enough, Keller will replace Tisci at Givenchy where she will be the first woman to direct the brand. With women beginning to dominate both the fashion and political scene, we foresee the color red staying around much longer than its cuter pink predecessor.