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Why blush is the new black

Blush hits that sweet spot between colour and neutral, which is just one of the reasons it's fashion's new favourite shade

24 February 2019 - 00:09 By Nothemba Mkhondo
Model Adwoa Aboah in blush Marc Jacobs.
Model Adwoa Aboah in blush Marc Jacobs.
Image: Pietro D'aprano/FilmMagic

Since the boom of "millennial pink", shades of pink have had an enduring reign in fashion, beauty and interiors alike. From bubblegum to borderline beige, fashion's penchant for pink is nowhere near over and, in 2019, blush is taking centre stage.

Blush is one of those endearing shades that has a subtle sartorial power - it whispers for attention and makes a soft statement. It's cool on suiting and a hit on dresses. But it's not necessarily one colour.

Think of it as a spectrum of beige-infused-pink shades. Forget the sweetness of rose quartz-esque, millennial pink. Blush hits that sweet spot between colour and neutral, making it a go-to shade for people who love colour and for people who don't. And considering how many shades "blush" can be, it's a colour that can suit any skin tone, mood or occassion.

WGSN's colour director Jane Monnington Boddy pins the rise of pink on cultural shifts in our fast-changing world. "We were facing a new cultural climate and a rebranding of feminism," says Boddy. "The world was no longer constrained by gender, sexuality or ethnicity, and the colour pink embodied this cultural shift. It's a hue that speaks of inclusivity, rather than a world separated between girls and boys," she says.

Today, pink's more blush incarnation represents the next level of this change.

Since 2014 pink shades have been on the rise and show no sign of slowing down. The initial boom, which was driven by brands like Glossier and Mansur Gavriel and Pantone's announcement of Rose Quartz as the Colour of the Year in 2016, has only gained momentum since. "Soft pink made everyone love colour, and turned it into a talking point," said Boddy.

In the age of social media, colour wealds an exceptional amount of influence. Images on your feed are painted with the colour of the season as people snap and share themselves decked out in the latest shades. But through the passing winds of Gen-Z yellow, lilac and red, pink is a colour that's never lost its lustre.

SOFT PINK IS THE NEW BLACK

It's safe to say that soft pink is the new black. Yes, that's a bold statement, but let's take a moment to remember fashion's long-standing love affair with black.

Black has always been a colour imbued with a multitude of meanings. From being a signifier of mourning to being the colour equated with taste and style, black is one of the most perennial shades in fashion imagery with black dresses, jackets and suits standing out as icons through time.

Dion Lee.
Dion Lee.
Image: Getty Images
Rochas.
Rochas.
Image: Getty Images

Think of what colour most designers wear when taking their end-of-show bows. And no one can ever forget Coco Chanel's little black jacket and little black dresses, Yves Saint Laurent's sleek black Le Smoking suits or Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Black is fashion's reigning favourite shade. But now, in 2019, it's becoming clear that black has a cool new little sibling.

From dresses, to suits, and everything in between, wardrobe staples now seem at home in blushing shades. Net-A-Porter solidified this when they gave the well-known fashion acronym, LBD, a brand new definition, the Little Blush dress - and proposed it as a must-buy summer favourite.

Prada.
Prada.
Image: Getty Images
Alexandre Vauthier.
Alexandre Vauthier.
Image: Getty Images

Just as the little black dress changes every season, so too does the blush dress. This season, blush mini's are seen on the runway in multiple iterations and in numerous shades.

From the voluminous ruffles at Marc Jacobs, to bow details at Rochas, to the baby-doll silhouettes at Prada and the sheer shirt dress at Dion Lee, designers are making a serious case for the blush dress as your new favourite wardrobe icon.

So if the current track record of this particular variety of pink is anything to go by, it's safe to say that these blushing beauties should be the next thing you add to your wardrobe.