Pink: A Biography

Marilyn Monroe in Howard Hawks' GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953).“She’s got pink knickers on!” These mortifying words, said to my eight year old self innocently cartwheeling across the school field, will never leave me. “Why did I have to have the pink ones on today?” I thought, wishing I’d opted for neutral lemon yellow or pale dolphin blue. Needless to say, any pink items I owned were firmly placed at the back of the drawer from that moment on.

But why pink? What is it about this colour that makes it so emotive, so socially expressive? Why does pink hold such a power over us?

Pink is perhaps the most talked of colour of them all. Idolised by Barbie and the sexy Pink Ladies in Grease, it is the ultimate in brazen femininity. Victoria’s Secret have a whole range named after it: quite an accolade. Never was a colour so loved. Or, in the cases of rebellious ten year olds who paint their bedroom purple, so hated.

If a teenager wants to rebel, she dyes her hair pink. If a boyfriend wants to treat his girl, he’ll buy her chocolates in a pink box. It’s a tool; a weapon of love and womanhood. Which is why pink’s return on the Autumn/ Winter catwalks for 2013 is not to be underestimated.

Amongst the dark and dirty Autumn 2013 Collections, refreshing splashes of pink powered out, lifting us out of heavy black, brown and navy. Lighter, so dubbed ‘Pepto- Bismol Pink’ shone at Simone Rocha, tempered down with nudes. Flashes of brilliant fuchsia at Paul Smith and PPQ declared power and domination. Baby pinks at Unique were unexpected, as were subtle cerise stripes at Fendi. Pink is most certainly back in business.

Pantone have already declared ‘Vivacious’, a bright shocking pink as one of the colours of the season. This ‘unruly and wild’ shade is your ticket to lifting an autumnal ensemble. It’s also the exact shade of Princess Diana’s iconic Catherine Walker dress: elegance at a time of turbulence.

Pink has had some fabulous moments in fashion, lending its wearers simultaneous softness and sparkle. The shade of pink is crucial, lying somewhere on the innocent/ sexual scale in accordance with how dark we are brave enough to go.

After all, who could possibly forget Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby pink Ralph Lauren gown at the Oscars, transforming the then fledgling actress into Cinderella for the night. Moving along the scale is bubblegum, favoured by Harajuku girls and popstars alike. Closely behind are salmon, coral, and strawberry pinks, which remind me of my fabulously feminine yet painfully hopeless French teacher: when she wore her coral suit, you knew she meant business. Or at least tried to.

Finally come the flaming flamingo hues of cerise, magenta and. For her signature performance of Diamond’s are a Girl’s Best Friend Marilyn Monroe stunned in a luscious dark pink satin gown: the ultimate in femininity, sex and wonder.

Pink an icon, and it’s for all the right reasons.

buckpalaceI even went for the pink look myself at the Queen’s Garden Party last week! (Full post on that to follow…)

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