Between the controversy-stoking bright yellow platform crocs that Balenciaga sent down the runway at Paris Fashion Week, streetstyle star and maximalism advocate Giovanna Battaglia posing during fashion month wearing a quilted yellow duster coat (with matching skirt, but of course), the splices of pineapple-hued pleats at cult label Celine, and the tiered sunflower ruffles at Carolina Herrera, there was a certain sunniness to this year’s offerings.
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A reaction, one must wonder, to the gloominess that has permeated the global consciousness when it comes to, well, the general state of the world? And indeed, so ingrained into our consciousness has yellow become this season that it has garnered its own internet following, “Gen Z yellow”, officially shunting “Millennial pink”, a ubiquitous shade of salmon pink that popped up everywhere earlier this year as the colour of right now.
According to the website Man Repeller, Gen Z yellow is “the natural evolution of Millennial pink. It maintains that pleasing-to-the-eye softness of the sweetest shades of Millennial pink, but without the overplayed infantilisation. It’s both nostalgic and modern. It has zest, energy, optimism.”
That zest is certainly the case for Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin from the New York-based label Tome, who took inspiration from the rainbow for its spring/summer collection. The duo sent sunray pleats in eye-popping hues down the runway at New York Fashion Week. For them, yellow is a way of choosing to see the world.
“I’m not sure if it’s so much a trend, [as] people gravitating to something that is cheerful and vibrant during dark times,” says Martin.
Adds Lobo: “Fashion, like art, can be a reflection of the times or it can be an escape from it. In tumultuous times like these, we wanted our collection to be optimistic and joyous. Our colour palette for the SS18 collection was that of a ‘deconstructed rainbow’, yellow being one of the dominant hues. “
It’s a view shared by Coco Chan, head of womenswear at online retailer Stylebop, who also sees a sense of “optimism” in designers’ fondness for yellow this season.
“[It’s] energetic and modern – it also exudes confidence. I think designers are tapping into this desire for confidence and positivity at the moment, and strong colour always does the job,” she says.
As Chan notes, perhaps surprisingly when it come to yellow, there is a hue for just about everyone. No matter what your crayon preference – from burn-the-retina highlighter through to softer pastels.
There are, she says, “many ways of wearing it”.
Sportsgirl’s trend forecaster Erin Fletcher agrees, noting that “yellow, in all its glorious shades, is absolutely having a moment. From dandelion to marigold, lemon to banana, glowing, sunny brights are out in force”.
Fletcher notes that the retailer had been “predicting the rise of yellow for a while now”, with the hue trickling into Sportsgirl stores from October in tops, dresses and bottoms.
But perhaps the best reason to endorse it?
“Yellow is happy!” she says.
So if that’s not a world view to get behind in uncertain times, then what, pray tell, is?
Pare-back a sunny tone with nude accessories. Denim also works particularly well.
Take notes from Celine for the office and wear a sunny yellow skirt with crisp and classic tailoring. A white shirt works perfectly.
If you’re wary of all-out colour, try Coco Chan’s suggestion of an “accent piece” of yellow and keep everything else understated; or opt for an accessory in a blooming shade – from marigold to butter. It will work surprisingly well with just about anything.