When I was a girl pink was not the go to, obvious colour it is today for little girls. My first recollection of the colour pink was my mother talking about “shocking” pink. And in fact there could not be a bigger contrast than baby pink, little girl, shell-like, pretty pink and full-on, sexy, outrageous shocking pink. Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli saw pink as a radical, rebellious colour and called her signature colour Shocking Pink.
Diana Vreeland, the former editor of American Vogue, described pink as “the navy blue of India”, implying it was the ubiquitous colour that was worn almost as a neutral in India. With the brightest sunshine, Indian silks and cottons are often dyed in the strongest hues. It has always impressed me how even the poorest Indians have a sensitivity to colour and design. Here is the interior of a tiny flat in Mumbai inhabited by a widow and her daughter. It’s as stylish as anything you might see in Elle Decoration.
Here is an image from Africa. The Owambo people of Namibia base their traditional costume on pink, and women prize beads made from pink snail shells.
Christian Dior, the post war French designer, wrote that “Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe; it is the colour of happiness”. Pink is a colour associated with youth, empathy and approachability, and innovation. But of course the association with femininity which Dior recognised can make it a slightly challenging colour for work. But these days pink shirts for men must mean women can wear pink for work without undermining their authority. And many jobs, mine included, have to be approachable as well as authoritative. I tend to agree, and believe that every woman, and man for that matter, can wear pink. But of course the best pinks are the ones which flatter our colouring and make us look younger and fresher.
The pinks can be divided up into our usual categories, indicating that there is a pink for everyone, but it has to be the right pink.
Deep or Light?
Cool or Warm?
Bright or Muted?
My Pink Wardrobe