For the last few seasons, designers have dipped and dabbed in their primary coloured paint pots and mixed around with hues and shades until their collections became bright, bubbling specimens of vibrant colour. But now, the Crayola boxes have been stacked away, paint palettes washed and prepped for a new age; the age of the return of monochrome. Those in love with the colours of the last few seasons fear not, this doesn't mean a return to black as the 'new black', no; it more wholly represents shades and the tonal values we learnt in primary school art lessons. Instead of reaching for the poster paints, picture a Dulux colour chart, and the deliberation between 'Dublin Bay' and 'Woodland Fern', the most minuscule of shade differences. Paint your own palette in shades this season, not with all the colours of the rainbow. The rainbow has played this year's final act , so we welcome in the shading tones. The coming season's palette is simplified; texture and fabric take centre stage in this production, and the creators are the players.
This colour matching revolution appeared in Alexander Wang's dark and twisty Autumn Winter 2012 collection, comprising strong burgundy ensembles where tonal leathers were paired with chain mail-alike textures, long sleeves and high-slit pencil skirts. The tonal method is not new to the house of Wang, his Spring Summer 2012 collection exhibited almost dip dye like design, transitional light blue to navy manifested itself in one piece ensembles paired with white shoes. The colours of the collection could not be further from the children's art show colours of Meadham Kirchhoff, who plastered on their primary coloured, over kitsched up fabrics like it was going out of fashion, ironically. A whole material store of fabric samples were presented at Meadham Kirchhoff where collections season and season play against assumed industry approval, nevertheless attaining all necessary media exposure. The bright and shiny Meadham Kirchhoff duo couldn't be further from Wang's tough street-girl style, athletic summer collection that comprised shades and block outfits; a whole new kind of playtime was on the Kirchhoff cards with absolutely nothing getting in its way.
Many of us are drawn to what can be described as 'simple chic'- the art of not wearing too many colours. Women of a certain age might shudder at the now commercialised-Mary Katrantzou-inspired, big, brash and in your face floral trend that has swept through the high street like London's very own tornado; younger fashionistas choose grown up high street stores such as Cos to indulge their colourful yet contained sensibilities. We find it very easy to slip back into black, keeping it safe as a comfort blanket; colour is becoming a big deal. Embrace it.
Neon touches at the high street Autumn Winter 2012 previews remind us that we can all wear colour, however old we are and for most occasions. In Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw stepped out in close to fancy-dress-farcical outfits to much applaud; while her critics wrinkled their noses, a consequent revolution brewed, one that has now reached the surface. While I'm in favour of colour blocking, mass colour maturely combined with Meadham Kirchhoff inspired kitsch that brightens any rainy shopping street, I'm looking forward to texture time. Garments are endlessly more desirable on the best texture; cashmere feels just that much better, strong tweed is noticeable anywhere, and the perfect silk is just divine. A pleasing texture is irresistible, and the tonal shades of the coming season will give them their own lease of life. Here's to looking, and feeling, fabulous.
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