THE SUGAR-COATED PINKS OF THE PAST MAKE WAY FOR NEW SHADES WITH ATTITUDE
On the changing tones of the colour chart
Burly tradie to me: What do you reckon about that salmon colour? Me to burly tradie: It’s not salmon. It’s blush – or millennial pink. Me to me (in a thought bubble): Did you really just say that? Yes, you did.
When Pantone (pantone.com) declared “Greenery” as 2017’s Colour of the Year (and gave legitimate sociological reasons for doing so), it was little more than a smokescreen to deflect us from one of the most dominant and enduring design trends of recent years – pink.
And that tradie on the TV renovation show wasn’t wrong in his description, just a few decades out of date. Because the pinks that are currently so popular are near neighbours to 1980s shades that had been consigned to the decor history books and to the outer fringes of good taste: salmon, terracotta, even apricot.
Today’s pink isn’t just a thing,it’s an attitude. It’s political. Dubbed “Millennial Pink”, it’s been said the colour’s popularity represents a blurring of gender, a rejection by the millennial generation of the old norms of feminine and masculine. It’s true when it comes to fashion that men are embracing pink just as much as women. New York-based brand Common Projects’s pink sneakers (commonprojects.com) are in high
demand by both sexes.To get a better idea of “man pink”, look at Dulux’s Hugo (dulux.com.au) and compare it to, say, a pinker shade like Taubmans’s Alice (taubmans.com.au). But whatever descriptor you attach to it (and I’ve used Band-Aid, Pepto-Bismol and Calamine in my search for the perfect word), these are not the sugar-coated pinks of old. They are dirtier and somehow gutsier. The blue notes have been taken out.Get your pink right and you’re achingly cool; get it wrong and you’ll have Elle Woods’s Legally Blonde bedroom. It’s a knife edge.
Vogue Living stylist Joseph Gardner chooses Nude by Porter’s Paints for its “depth and earthiness”. He also likes Tranquil by Haymes Paint (haymespaint. com.au) as “a good mid-toned pink” and Taubmans’s Hedonist which, despite its name, he finds “soft and subtle”.
For something a little punchier, my suggestions are Taubmans’s Ooh La La and Pink Flambe or Wattyl’s Tickle Me Pink and Angel Delight (wattyl. com.au), which really does remind me of the sickly sweet, powdered dessert of my childhood.Who thinks up these amazing names? In my next life, I want to come back as them. Neale Whitaker is editor-in-chief of Vogue Living.