In fashion, hot pink is popping

NEW YORK (AP) – Your attention please: Dump that basic black.

The fashion world needs to get past the dark cloud of the recession and look to a brighter day when the shopping public will be excited to buy new styles and try new colors, instead of merely replacing the basics. And that new attitude is largely being carried on the back of hot pink.
“I love fuchsia. I’m always drawn to it,” says designer Thakoon Panichgul, who has had success with a hot-pink lip print in recent seasons. “It’s a reaction color, and that’s what fashion is. You can’t quantify it, it’s just you know what you like. You can’t analyze it.”
But you can try.
It seems hot pink is aiming to do this summer and into fall what yellow did for last fall. The industry is using bright, happy, smiley face-worthy color to court customers back into stores. Sure, there are browns and blacks on the racks, and that very well be what people end up with in their bags, but eye-catching they are not.
“Hot pink is all over the place right now,” says Hope Greenberg, fashion director at Lucky. “Right now, designers need to do something that will capture your attention at retail. … Your really need clothes that are going to jump out at the customer.”
And the choice to use fuchsia, bright berry or highlighter pink makes sense twofold, she says: They’re colors most women don’t already have in their closets, but they look good with the shades they do.
“From neon to fuchsia, hot pink is very versatile. It goes with gray, brown, navy, army green … there are a million things to wear it with,” says Greenberg, whose magazine dedicated its entire July issue to buys under $100. There was a lot of pink.
It’s good to start out test-driving such a bold color with a small purchase – perhaps a belt or shoe, she suggests. She started herself with a neon pink T-shirt from American Apparel. “I wore it to work and everyone loved it and gave me compliments all day. It made everyone want to go out and buy it,” Greenberg says.
Meanwhile, Linda Wells, editor in chief of Allure, is eyeing a hot pink Dolce & Gabbana coat. “I feel like it’s really energizing. You have to be up for wearing the color, though. You are going to get noticed.”
Style expert Mary Alice Stephenson says celebrities are attracted to fuchsia and its cousin colors for the red carpet for that very reason.
“There’s a push for pink now,” says Stephenson. “It used to be pink was for Paris Hilton and breast cancer awareness, but now all of a sudden there’s the interest in neon.”
“It’s bright, fresh and sassy,” agrees model/actress Molly Sims, a client of Stephenson. She wore bright pink to the Vanity Fair Oscars Party this year. “You don’t need a lot of anything else with that color. It makes it easy in that way that you can keep the rest of your outfit simple.”
Sims adds: “Putting on pink – it just makes me feel good.”
Stephenson thinks the fall collections of designers such as Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez and Matthew Williamson did wonders to dispel any fears that hot pink is too young, too bold or too scary.
“They showed you it can look sophisticated and grown-up. … Feminine pink is pretty but it’s the over-the-top hue that makes it strong and sexy.”
It helps that bright pink works with many skin tones, giving an instant lift to the complexion, notes Stephenson. It also can be as bold as you want to make it since it pairs so nicely with basic black or a classic, tailored shape.
A hot-pink dress with black tights and ankle boots will be really chic come the new season, adds Lucky’s Greenberg, and a berry blouse under a jacket is the kind of look you can wear anywhere. (First lady Michelle Obama did just that earlier this month at a charity luncheon.)
Unlike a shift in silhouette to, for example, miniskirts or skinny jeans, color is a trend that women of all ages and shapes can participate in, she says.
David Wolfe, creative director at The Doneger Group, a fashion-forecasting company, says pink is popping because the fashion industry is looking back at the 1930s for inspiration and ideas on getting out of the current downturn.
“Pink is a psychological expression of feeling good,” he says. “You like seeing it on others, people like seeing it on themselves.”
The color also plays into other trends, including an 1980s revival, the celebration of Barbie’s 50th birthday and the interest in India’s celebratory colors thanks to “Slumdog Millionaire.”
“Every time hot pink comes in, it sells like hotcakes,” Wolfe says. “Everybody looks good in it. It makes older people look younger and younger people more sophisticated.”
AP-ES-06-25-09 1537EDT

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