To the soundtrack of a clubbed-up, remixed Clockwork Orange, fashion label Sacai unveiled its spring/summer 2017 menswear collection and within the references to Breaking Bad-like jumpsuits and Rab C Nesbitt-esque string vests there was a clear message: pink for men is back.
Alongside layered pale pink suits accessorised with white string gloves, there were boilersuits in harsh lilac-pink worn with James Bay-style hats and pineapple print jumpers worn with rave trousers and strapped-up black brogues.
But Sacai’s attempt to turn heads with bursts of pink was not a one-off. At the men’s shows this summer, muted pinks of coral and salmon have dominated, a trend that is expected to be reflected on the high street in the spring and summer of 2017.
Pink popped up on garments across the board. There were suits (Bottega Veneta’s bowling suit), jackets (Tiger Of Sweden’s opulent field jacket and John Elliott + co’s taut leather jacket) and trousers (Robert Geller’s hot pink felt to Gucci’s Jarvis Cocker-ish pair).
“Buyers across the high street and high end will embrace colour in 2017 – pink included,” says men’s style director at Matchesfashion.com, Simon Chilvers.
This move towards a brighter, more boundary-pushing tone is a reflection of the sense of confidence following the continued growth of the menswear market, which has traditionally been a naturally conservative arena. It has expanded 22% in the past five years and sales are expected to reach £14.1bn in Britain this year, according to the British Fashion Council.
The daring of the catwalk seldom makes its way directly to the high-street store. In retail, trends reveal themselves gradually and subtly rather than in a tumult of glitter and feathers. But 2017 could prove an exception.
Pink, a colour with a controversial history in menswear, is set to become the new neutral tone. It is likely to surpass the current red carpet-favoured tone of mid blue which has been a favourite at the Baftas (Idris Elba), Grammys (Mark Ronson) and Cannes (Lucky Blue Smith).
When colour authority Pantone named rose quartz (the kind of candyfloss shade you associate with cards for baby girls) as one of their colours of the year, they weren’t wrong. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, last week squared up to the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in a coral pink tie, while rapper Drake caused a minor pre-Euros skirmish when he posed on Instagram in a ballet-slipper pink Juventus top and matching tinted shades.
As Kanye West, a man whose pink polo shirt became his sartorial trademark early on in his career, said: “Why would anyone pick blue over pink? Pink is obviously a better colour.”
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