According to London Fashion Week, what is the hottest new colour? You can do whatever you like, as long it’s bright and striking. The more you mix it up, the better.

two man wearing yellow and grey suit jacket standing close together

Initial thought was that London Fashion Week would be all about parma purple. Roland Mouret asked me, while I stroked a pale-colored, luminous purple silk blouse on a rail in his studio. Pantone had just named Orchid Bloom one of its key colors for 2022. I was convinced that apple green had it. Alice Temperley’s collection convinced me to buy a halter-neck and wrap gown in bold mid-green. It is halfway between lime green and emerald. This is what Americans call Kelly Green. It reminds me of biting into crisp granny Smiths. Bottega Veneta is a fan of this sharp, outdoory green, which has been in fashion for some time.

As the shows progressed over the weekend, I noticed that one catwalk was full of yellow, while the next was full of burgundy and orange shades. It dawned upon me that there’s no one main color this season. Next season will be all about colour. Real colour, mind. Not the unusual, chalky shades fashion loves – such as the milky off-white Pecorino, Tiepolo pink and rich espresso brown. But the bold shades you can find in a packet of highlighters or crayons, or the neons at Piccadilly circus or in amusement arcades.

person wearing white adidas Stand Smith sneankers

Mouret said to me that colour is like sunlight on your face. Colour therapy is a real success. It makes you happy.” Rejina Pyo, a designer, paired a Lucozade blouse and a lime pencil skirt for her show. At eight months pregnant, she wore the same combination. She said that it brought her “a feeling of freedom which I have been longing to feel.” For so long, life has been all about rules and guidelines.

Bright colours are about optimism and breaking away from monotony. This is a good thing, as hybrid working patterns mean that many people are finding a new rhythm in their week. It’s a mix of home and commuting, Pret sandwiches, and leftovers from the fridge. No longer is the old standard that five days out seven were governed by the train schedule and office hours. No one working day is the same. There are many options for different looks and colours. I love bright colours because that is what I wear when on vacation. This is not a rare sentiment. The holiday-suitcase appeal that coral, fuchsia and sky blue have on me is also part of it. Many people want a sunny holiday after the pandemic. Therefore, clothes that remind them of maxi skirts, maxi dresses, and strappy dresses that we have stored in boxes for two years are more appealing to us than ever.

Victoria Beckham stated that she was drawn to the “elegant European summer” and “the feeling of being completely detached from reality.” When she designed her new collection for next spring, Beckham also said that she was “drawn towards the elegance of European summer” Her new long dresses in dandelion and marmalade had a drinks-at-golden-hour energy that feels hard to resist. Emilia Wickstead, who was wearing a Hawaiian shirt from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, had Leonardo DiCaprio in mind when she paired turquoise-and white florals with apricot–and-white flowers this season.

Bora Aksu’s show was accompanied by a note that stated, “If people don’t notice you, they might as well forget you.” This quote was from Aksu’s muse, Mathilde Willink (deceased Dutch socialite), who is known for her extravagant dress sense and hedonistic lifestyle. There is little chance that you will slip under the radar when wearing emerald tailored over pink tulle or a ballet-slipper pink blouse and pineapple trousers. Aksu stated that he enjoys finding the right balance between colors that don’t usually work together. Unexpected combinations of colours are more than just beautiful. Pyo says, “I love the way colours can have a conversation when you combine them. It’s like matching lime green with orange or lavender and pink together. You can try it out to feel the energy.”

flat lay photography of sliced pomegranate, lime, and lemon

Fashion’s rainbows are a result of a shift to a more sustainable and less wasteful mindset. Edeline Lee, a British-Canadian designer, said that it felt wrong to order new fabric this season. Her clothes have been worn by everyone, from Helen Mirren to Taylor Swift. “So I decided that we would use all the fabrics left in my studio. We ended up with 53 colors in the collection.” Lee discovered that putting together these disparate pieces was satisfyingly creative, as it is when you cook with leftovers. Lee stated that “If I order new fabric, then logistics of a company my size dictate that I only order a limited amount. Having 53 was great.” Aqua was spliced with peach, coral and chocolate brown with lawn green.

Long gone are the days of basic black and bright colors for sophisticates. It’s been a decade since then. The Electric Angels collection by Matthew Williamson featured Kate Moss wearing a peppermint cardigan and a fuchsia pencil skirt in 1997. Fashion has changed a lot since then. Today, the catwalk front row is made up of a woman in all black and a woman wearing lime with red is likely to be a Love Island contestant. Roksanda Ilic is an exceptional colourist. Her shows are a masterclass in brilliantly unexpected combinations.

Ilincic wore a collection featuring Joan Didion quotes in this season’s Serpentine Gallery show. It was worn by a variety of models and dancers. “I have always loved colour, and this season after feeling small in my life, I wanted everything to feel bigger again.” She said that the light at the end is brighter and bigger, as if it were a beacon of hope. Harrods buyer pointed out that the colours are key to her identity as “a confident, intelligent, and artistic woman”.

smiling woman standing on different dresses lot

Fashion is now on the verge of being pushed to the sidelines by a year without any reason to dress up and the growing storm of climate crisis. Fashion was instead a source of joy, as the London fashion week proved. The rainbow trend does not come with a shopping list. It is, in fact, a call for action to make more use of the pieces you already have but aren’t wearing often enough. Instead of looking for neutrals that will work, next time you go through your closet, try a pink skirt you haven’t worn in a while. Maybe the lime cardigan. Actually, I have a better idea. Why not both?

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