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SS20 Key Trend Stories: Colour explosion

Sandra Halliday
26 September 2019

SS20 is offering just about something for everyone on the colour front with plenty for lovers of classics and neutrals in understated stories. Think black or white (as well as black and white), grey (the silvery variety or maybe with an underlying hint of purple) and gentle nudes from pale to darker beige and military khaki.

Then there are the "intense" pastels that we’re seeing too. The palest tones here are peach, violet, aqua blues and mint but interpreted in materials with a strong sheen or texture, they feel somehow ‘brighter’ than classic pastels.

And the brights are crucial — an infusion of colours that really pack a punch. Choose pure bright fuchsia, emerald green, bright orange, sunshine yellow, scarlet, rich royal blues (maybe with a hint of indigo), purple, or neons and you have a potent colour mix.

And talking of mix, what’s particularly interesting about many of these colour stories is the way designers are combining colours. These shades may make a statement as allovers, but in combinations they look even stronger.

Labels are mixing neutrals/classics, pastels and brights with other neutrals/classics, or offering us intriguing combos of bright-neutral, classic/pastel, bright-on-bright and more.

SS20 Colour

Soft toned: Awake Mode, Prada, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana

One strong combo option soft-toned neutrals or pales with an edge. Think of a soft grey with a beige accent, vanilla with a silver contrast, a melange of pale blues, or maybe beige edged in white with a silver grey accent added in for good measure.

SS20 Colour

Mixed with monotone: Versace, MSGM, MSGM, Benetton, Carolina Herrera, Benetton, Tom Ford

Black or almost-black can also be added into that mix for a bit more definition but black also works well when brights are worked against the monotone staple. Brights worked against white follows a similar concept but adds a strikingly different effect. There’s a must-have ‘bad taste’ element here with plenty of non-matching brights — maybe a purple top and black skirt given an unexpected twist with green hosiery. The purity of black and white serves to highlight the intense shades with which they’re combined and also adds a commercial edge to what could be a tough colour story to carry off.

Of course, for those with the confidence, the pure power of bright contrast (see top image is something we’ll see a lot of next season, It might be purple and orange, emerald and lavender, fuchsia and scarlet, orange and yellow, rich blue and vibrant green. The important thing is to make the contrast as striking as possible whether through unexpected combinations of separates, colour blocking or creative accessories combos.

Tonal: Prada, Iceberg, MSGM, Deborah Lyons, Dolce & Gabbana, Alberta Ferretti, This Nor That

But there’s a more tonal story going on too that takes in the brights as well as more neutral and pastel shades. Two pinks blended together feel modern and unexpected, while a mix of pinks with pale mauves, or maybe a contrasting-but-complementary blend of rich browns/oranges/yellows embrace the season’s directions with a more wearable edge than the extreme brights offer up.

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