The Colour Wheel of Fashion in 2022

Pantone may pick one shade a year, but not the fashion world. This winter, experiment with a new version of green, red, and dopamine hues

Gone are the days where one solid colour dominated an entire fashion week, or a whole season. What started off with the dominance of hot pink aka Pierpaolo Piccioli’s introduction to the Valentino runway for summer ’22 soon trickled down to fast fashion houses such as Zara, H&M, and Asos, among others, and was the beginning of the spinning of a new, more experimental colour wheel.

As we move into the colder time of the year, you can safely introduce some new, bold shades to your wardrobe. No, not black and maroon and safe shades. It’s time to try some red, avocado green, and psychedelic pop.

The runways sported some classy red cashmere sweaters, puffer jackets, long overcoats, and metallic blazers at PaulSmith, Vetements, Jacquemus, Casablanca,Hermès, Fendi, Etro, and more. Similarly, avocado green made its presence felt at Louis Vuitton, Dior Men, and Gucci through suits, coats, and accessories. Rick Owens, Dsquared2, and Versace stole the show with their psychedelic shades.

Designer Kunal Rawal explains that while these colours have always been there somewhere in the background, they’re being seen on the runway in a much bolder way, and the post-pandemic fashion frenzy can be credited for it. “The pandemic is not fully over, but there is more positivity and a lot of celebration in the air. People have had a lot of time to think and introspect, especially men who enjoy expressing themselves through fashion. The trend today is to be anti-trend, and we are seeing the rebellion in fashion choices,” he explains.

He also credits these bright tones in menswear to how the definitions of being a man are changing. “People are putting more thought into their looks instead of just buying readymade looks off the rack. They’re customising either the outfit or the way they wear it. Boundaries on how men should look and dress are being erased, and we will see a lot more fun beyond these colours in menswear yet,” Rawal adds.

Overall, menswear is now moving beyond the earthy colour palette and entering into the wild pop-coloured zone for the last couple of years, with fashion houses and independent labels bringing a variety. “Designers have had a good run with the primary and secondary colours, and we need to experiment and push the boundaries of what colours we can work with. I, for one, welcome this new shade card. The reds and the greens have been a staple for me over the last few years so I’m not new to the colour game in that aspect. However, as far as psychedelic colours go, there’s a fine line between making them look good versus obnoxious. For us, so far, we prefer pastels, and paint our colour palette with a conservative yet fun set of shades,” explains designer Arjan Dugal.

The Indian wedding space has never shied from using vibrant tones — reds, yellows, pinks, and green have been a common factor in desi weddings. The colour experimentation is usually seen in pre-wedding festivities such as mehendi, sangeet, and cocktail, where the groom opts for all sorts of wild shades. Speaking of including these bright tones in Indian wear, Rawal thinks that the younger designers have made Indian occasion-wear cool again.

“Honestly, Indian wear has always been known for its celebration of colour, so all these colours are quite a natural fit for us. The real beauty of handwork and couture is the detailing that goes into surface textures, and more often than not, each of these textures has 7-8 colours mixed into it to achieve the desired detailing and intricacy of design. For me, these are colours that can mix very well in surface textures, which ultimately make it to the runway. Every designer has their way of using these colours and applying their aesthetic to them. Another fun way to incorporate such colours is in eye-popping linings, which can add a new level of fun and interest to the garments,” he believes. Vibrant colours are a great way to add spice to your outfit.

Amritha Ram of KH House of Khaddar explains, “It’s one of the reasons why we chose a colour palette of pop colours to showcase our collection at the Paris Fashion Week. As a designer, I look at what is happening around me for the colour palette inspiration and with the post-pandemic mindsight, I think it’s the best time to build a collection using such colours. Moreover, the colour palette for the season largely depends on the design. You need to make sure that the colour palette matches your design’s message and mood. You can include multiple shades at once with analogous colours. To use multiple shades at once, use colours that get along with each other. Opt for analogous colours if you wish to blend in and complimentary colours to stand out.”

Another way to include multiple shades at once is by the good old art of colour blocking, or by adding accessories of similar tones. Dugal adds, “Colour blocking is a friend. Colours that go together, complementing shades, and friendly palettes are a way to play that game. You find the neutral shades you’re working with this season and add your experimental colours to that.”

Pick your pops, and shine.

Images: Shutterstock

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