Do You Do Pink?

Apparently, pink is a controversial color. Or maybe “was a controversial color” is a better statement. A recent article by Nancy MacDonnell in the Off Duty section of The Wall Street Journal (“Making Peace with Pink” February 11-12, 2017) makes a case for the appropriateness – and timeliness – of pink even for those who think they don’t like it. While I am one who thinks pink is always in fashion, it turns out that this Spring, it really is in fashion! According to Ms. MacDonnell, “On this season’s runways, pink predominated.” The different fashion houses showed varying interpretations of pink: Michael Kors was “brisk, All-American, [and] cheery.” J. Crew was “equally upbeat,” while Valentino showed pink that was “lush and romantic, with intricate appliqués and historical references…”   The list goes on and on. The unifying thread (pardon the pun), as claimed by the designers, was the lack of traditional “sweetness” associated with pink, with emphasis on the feminine power inherent in the color.

Looming large on page 58 from the November 2016 WSJ Magazine is a Valentino coat, quite traditional in design, but made very special by its stunning appliquéd pink wool.

According to Dr. Valerie Steele, the Museum Director at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, who was quoted frequently in Ms. MacDonnell’s article, the idea of pink as a feminine color did not take hold until the 1950s. Back in 1954 when Christian Dior wrote The Little Dictionary of Fashion, his entry on “pink” stated: “The sweetest of all the colors. Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe. It is the color of happiness and of femininity.”   He even used pink throughout his book for illustrations, chapter headings and the title page. He recommended pink “for blouses and scarves; … for a young girl’s frock; it can be charming for suits and coats; and it is wonderful for evening frocks.” Who can argue with that, be it 1954 or 2017?

The title page of Dior’s smart little dictionary. (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, NY, copyright 2007)

This page from the June/July 2013 issue of Town and Country Magazine gives an interesting timeline of the color pink, “how the color of little girls and baby dolls came of age”:

Click on the image to read it.

I particularly like this statement from Laura Vinroot Poole, the founder of boutique Capitol in Charlotte, N. C., quoted in The Wall Street Journal article: “To wear pink, you have to be an interesting and smart person… You have to have things to say. In pink, you can’t hide.”   Nor would you want to.

Personally, pink is my favorite color. I am always drawn to it, regardless of its hue. And its hue covers a huge range from palest pink to deepest fuchsia, from bubblegum pink to raspberry red. In thinking about pink for this post, I gathered this stack of pink fabrics from my collection. Just looking at it makes me happy!

From top to bottom:
1) vintage Moygashel linen, purchased on eBay
2) silk charmeuse, purchased from Britex Fabrics
3) vintage Moygashel linen, purchased by me in the 1970s
4) linen, possibly Moygashel, purchased on etsy
5) silk jacquard purchased from Britex Fabrics
6) silk charmeuse, purchased from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics
7 & 8) coordinating silks, purchased from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics

The only controversy I have with pink is deciding which hue of it I like best.

19 Comments

Filed under Fashion commentary, Moygashel linen, silk, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric

19 responses to “Do You Do Pink?

  1. Mery

    Such an interesting article and such good quotes, thoroughly enjoyed, and makes me think. Often at a museum people are amazed at how impressed they are by one item they’ve seen many copies of. On my first trip to The National Gallery of Art at the Smithsonion what struck me wasn’t one item but rather the theme of how pink added such liveliness and warmth even to scenes not really featuring pink, like a painting of outdoor table setting (can’t think of the name). Once it hit me, I had to make a quick dash back through just to note the pinks, from Reuben’s nudes to still lifes. Fantasized about a book with each painting and on opposing page scans of the same but with pink edited out and how lifeless they’d seem by contrast.
    You wear all those shades of pink well. I can wear only the clearest shade, no purplish at all, but I do wear it and don’t wish to do without. When you wear rose or raspberry I’m better in peach or tomato red. Oh, why did I write so much again! It must because I wear pink and your interesting blogs make me think of things I want to share/say. Bless you for these good stories. After a bath I shall read them again wearing my pink silk bed jacket with ivory lace yokes.

    • You never need to worry about writing “so much” – I love interaction with my readers, and so happy that this post “made you think!” The world would be a dull place without pink in it, that’s for sure! Have a great weekend, Mery!

  2. I too am a pink person, Karen. Love this post and appreciate the links 🙂

    • Another quote by the boutique owner in Charlotte, was that Southern women have always been more willing to wear pink! As one born and raised in the South and now living in the Northeast, I must say I think she is right about that.

  3. Thanks for another informative and interesting read. I always enjoy the way you can weave history, designers and real life into these. I love your pinks, they are the same hues I gravitate toward, even in my elementary school days when I had orange hair. I always wanted the pink!

  4. Jaenice Palmer

    I have a mixed history with pink. When I was little I liked it. After the age of nine I hated it. Now I’ve reversed myself again and consider it an extra color with which to work. Lovely post, although I still think this color, if done wrong, can look infantile and toothless (or cartoonishly vampy!) unless worn with intention. I have favorite shades of pink same as anyone else, but (and this is left over from my full-on tomboy days) I refuse to be caught dead in anything that resembles overt little-girlishness. Again, love the post!

    • I suspect you are not the only one with a mixed experience with pink. I’m not sure any other color has such varied connotations associated with it. But for those of us who are fans (including me, of course), no other color speaks to us quite the same way as pink. Thanks so much for your comment!

      • Jaenice Palmer

        Yes, pink has many connotations ranging from ingénue to vixen–something you see reflected in older films especially. How to put it? The ingénue shines in soft cherry blossom shades, the passionate bombshell lights up the room in shocking pink, the femme fatale favors magenta or raspberry, the natural charmer dons mid-range pinks in gingham and plaid, the girl next door bounces along in bouffant bubblegum skirts, classically ladylike sorts drape themselves in pastel sheaths, and our no-nonsense tailored gals with careers and such are liable to pop on a jacket or a coat in peach or salmon (or jazz it up more with stripes, plaids, and graphic prints).

        Personally my own approach falls somewhere between that of the tailored gal and the femme fatale. While I adore the idea of a tailored jacket or coat in salmon, I am not above donning a magenta shirt when I’m feeling adventurous and I want to add a little pizzazz to my day. Yes, pink never went away!

  5. Linda Bryan

    Your comments make me remember myself in spring 1969. I was being interviewed by a recruiter who visited colleges looking for teachers for his school district. I wore a pink wool suit–a blazer-style jacket with a skirt that had pleats on each thigh, with a white blouse that had a tie collar. Rather Jacki Kennedy-esque, I thought. At the end, he said, “when you send your credentials to me, be sure to make a note at the top saying you were wearing the pink suit.”

    I got the job.

    • This is such a great story, Linda. You obviously had impressed the recruiter on your own, and your pink suit reinforced it! The power of pink in action! Thanks so much for sharing this with me.

  6. Interesting post! I’m a red and blue person myself! Some people just look better (skin tone, hair) with pink or blue or whatever, than others, I guess.

  7. Marianne

    Pink is my favourite colour too. Thank you for the interesting links!

  8. I’ve always liked pinks, but haven’t worn many of them. Somehow I gravitate more toward red (or coral when it’s in favor). You’ve shown some lovely shades, and indeed, pink has come of age, will be on the lookout. Wonderful post!

  9. Pingback: FIT in the News – March 17 – FIT Newsroom

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