The “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” exhibition opening at the Met is fast approaching, and pops of Surrealist Elsa Schiaparelli’s signature shocking pink are everywhere you look. But for those who find the shade too saccharine and prefer to dress in sleek suiting or tough, ripped denim, even the palest suggestion of the color can deliver a shock. Since this spring offers new approaches to wearing pink without channeling cuteness, princesses, or fairies, however, it’s time to open up to the delicate hue, and reclaim it as a cool color.
After all, when Riccardo Tisci showed button-up blush shirts paired with slim pants at Givenchy, the results were the opposite of frilly. And at Marni and Versus, variations on the pink party dress included plunging necklines and sheer layers—certainly more subversive than your fourth grade birthday soiree dream dress.
And the power-pink statements keep coming for fall, so if springtime adoption is too soon, there’s time to lean into the color, with low-slung, wide-cut pants like those at Céline (not to mention the house’s hot-pink fur coat), or Raf Simons’s reimagined housecoats and negligee at Jil Sander. Even Isabel Marant, known for her approach to pared-down, often boyish, Parisian chic took a rosy turn, showing pink pants emblazoned with cowgirl embroidery. Feminine, yes, but all of these looks were more sensual and refined than giddy and girly.
New practical adaptations of the color are already in rotation, from pairing neon pink Nikes with a monochromatic Dries Van Noten skirt, to wearing a vintage coral Chanel coat over a leather dress, or even donning a chic pink suit. Styling can be simple—the standards for toughening any look (read: motorcycle jackets, spiked Eddie Borgo jewelry, or a dark, Rooney Mara–inspired lip) are fail-safes when it comes to pink.
The other star of the Met show, Miuccia Prada (a strong woman if there ever was one), has been known to approach emblems of fragile femininity that she dislikes—aprons, lace, feminine frills—and reappropriate them into an original framework for strong, smart dressing. So taking a cue from Prada, perhaps it’s best to be bold and approach this bastion of bubblegum head-on: just look at Alexander McQueen, where, for fall, Sarah Burton rendered dresses that looked like exploding flowers, taking the idea of pretty pink from florid to fierce.
Photo: Monica Feudi/feudiguaineri.com