Pink is a symbol of embracing your true self in today’s social climate and you don’t have to be a Mean Girl to wear it on Wednesdays. The colour was first introduced by Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli in 1934. Society was shocked. Not so shockingly, that’s how it got its name, shocking pink. Shocking pink became Schiaparelli's trademark, just a few decades after the Suffragettes’ fight for women’s right to vote gained recognition in 1918.
Phoebus Cape, from Elsa Schiaparelli Winter 1938-39 ‘Cosmic’ collection.
Schiaparelli’s Shocking Pink Collection called on women to embrace their femininity in a powerful way. Soon enough the fight for women’s rights to work and live independently began – in which pink played a significant role as well.
Fast forward, 88 years later. It’s 2019. The runways are thinking pink, Vogue published an article, “Fall’s 50 Shades of Pink,” and designers including Alexander McQueen, Molly Goddard, Valentino, Brandon Maxwell, Moschino, Christopher Kane, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Jacquemus turned to pink for inspiration as well. Why the sudden upsurge of interest now?
Left to right, from AW19 RTW collections: Molly Goddard, Chanel, Valentino, Saint Laurent, JW Anderson, Christopher Kane, Rodarte, Alexander McQueen and Brandon Maxwell.
Some women confess that when they were growing up in the ‘90s and early 2000s they rebelled against pink. I count myself among them. I had a pink room until the age of 15, but when I turned 16, I was adamant on repainting it because of how it made me feel: girly. I associated girly with weak, a belief sustained by boys in my high school, who laughed and made fun of any other boy who wore pink, telling them they’re weak and have feelings (as if that was a bad thing). Boston-based Madison Healey, a volunteer of Teach for America in Namibia explains how pink made her feel growing up: “Pink was girly or feminine, both of which equalled weak, helpless, and ditsy in my household.” She adds: “Now, I LOVE pink and feeling feminine because now I know femininity is definitely not weak. Rather, it has a unique kind of power. I have my own personal associations for each colour. Pink reminds me of warmth, openness, sensuality, softness, blushing, having a crush, feeling loved, cuddling and orgasms. If the idea that pink is a feminine colour persists, everyone should embrace their more feminine aspects once in a while.”
Pink is gaining momentum in the world of fashion and far beyond. As Sarah Hozhuuüter puts it, “pink is not only about women, but rather about all groups, with different lifestyles, each living with different directions and goals in mind. I think pink is about showing yourself, stop the hiding, be who you are and show it proudly!” Maybe society wasn’t totally ready to embrace pink for what it was in the 1930s, but we’re no longer shocked. Instead, we see the colour as a symbol of femininity that reminds us of who we are, ready to embrace it. It is a colour with so much depth, joy, and love.
Words - Lisa Telle
Copy edited by: Leila Kozma