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April 1, 2011updated Feb 11, 2013


By Chris Boyle

The fashion world is experiencing a bit of a backlash this spring—after a year of shows filled with quiet neutrals and camel hues that reflected both a shift towards a minimalistic silhouette and a sartorial reaction to the worldwide recession, the industry has gone mad for color.


For designers who wanted to hold onto the streamlined style of the past year but give it a fresh spin, color was the perfect solution. Raf Simons’ collection for Jil Sander delivered an eye-popping array of electric blue, tangerine, fuschia and Granny Smith apple green. He incorporated volume and a more curvaceous shape that, along with all that bold color, took the house in a new direction without ever losing sight of the clean aesthetic that has become its signature. At Stella McCartney and Akris, the focus was on technicolor tones found in nature: Lemon yellow was McCartney’s go-to hue, while grass green and Indian Ocean blue were on display at Akris.

In fact, looks built around varying blocks of color were one of the top ways for brands to present their hottest hues. From the dramatic pink- and red-striped ensembles at Sportmax to Missoni’s crazy kaleidoscope of colored knits— made even louder by the addition of ticker tapelike messages woven into the fabric—designers used color blocking to make a bold statement. At Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Aquilano.Rimondi, the rich colors took their lead from jewelry as liquid silks and shiny satins radiated in emerald green, sapphire blue and amethyst. These gem tones offered some of the trend’s best options for after-dark dressing.


Tart and tangy orange was unquestionably the winner of this season’s color wars. Already a favorite in Hollywood, it has been donned from head to toe by Drew Barrymore, Emmy Rossum and Victoria Beckham in the past few months alone, making it the only way to go for fashionistas who want to be on the cutting edge of the color trend. With designers as varied as Prada, Christopher Kane and Raf Simons all choosing the hue for their widely different collections this spring, there is no denying the dominance of orange.

Fashion followers who have become accustomed to earth tones over the course of the past year may balk at this season’s brights, but the beauty of the trend is that you only need one or two vibrant pieces to update a wardrobe. The new brights’ powerful nature promises to play nicely with all of the neutral pieces that have been accrued over the last 12 months.



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