Pink is the new black
Why candyfloss is the hottest new colour
The hottest place in London right now is undoubtedly The Ned, the new 252-room hotel and members’ club from Soho House and the Sydell Group, housed in the City’s former Midland Bank building. Your Instagram feed and glossy magazines are likely filled with pictures of beautiful people lounging on pale-pink banquettes, or perching at the bar on raspberry leather stools. They will be in Millie’s Lounge, the 24-hour restaurant and bar with a pink-and-green interior scheme that makes it particularly selfie-worthy.
The Ned isn’t the first place to pack a punch with pink; in Mayfair’s sketch restaurant, The Gallery has candyfloss-pink walls and matching velvet chairs. It was designed in 2014 by India Mahdavi in collaboration with British artist David Shrigley (to complement his funny and rude sketches, which hang on the walls). Every two years the restaurant commissions an artist to redecorate, but three years later the colour scheme remains: pink is very much à la mode.
“Pink is an extremely flattering colour. It’s warm and inviting and if the right shade is used with the right lighting, everyone can look magnificent against it,” says interior designer Natalia Miyar. She favours stronger pinks in her work. “I think they look more sophisticated,” she says. “People are scared by pink initially, but once they see it applied in a bold or graphic way, they really love it.”
For interior designer Niloufar Bakhtiar-Bakhitiari of NBB Design, “Pink is the new white – it goes with every colour,” she says. While she appreciates all shades, she often introduces pink to clients with a paler, softer hue. “I love Farrow & Ball’s “Setting Plaster” paint. It’s subtle and warm, and is beautiful when used as a base with oranges or greens.”
Rachel Winham has recently incorporated pink into the design of the showroom at Queen’s Wharf, a collection of studios and oneto three-bedroom apartments in Hammersmith, for sale from £1.15million. “We chose a geometric Cole and Son wallpaper for the dining room and then picked out the coppery pink tones for the upholstery and accents, teaming it with crisp creams and soft greys. It’s serene and sophisticated,” she says.
It’s a refreshing change from the drab neutrals used in many showrooms, and proof that pink is firmly in the mainstream. Browse the high street interiors stores and you’ll see pink popping up on textiles, furniture, home appliances and even technology products.
Interior trends are often closely aligned with fashion and, in recent seasons, there has been a predominance of pink on the catwalk. At the haute couture shows in Paris, Chanel, Giambattista Valli and Schiaparelli all incorporated the colour into their collections. And it’s not just for women: at the most recent L London Collections for Men there w were suits and bomber jackets in the o once-considered feminine hue. New York magazine recently d described the newly coined “Millennial Pink”, a soft b bubblegum shade, as a “genderless mascot” for this generation. Pink is no longer just for girls, but for boys too – and any gender identity in b between, they say. It’s a fitting arc in an evolution of a colour that, when it first appeared in art, w was used to represent masculinity rather than femininity. The painter Ambroise Dubois’s portrait of Henry IV in the image of the God Mars, painted circa 1600, shows the king posing in a sugary pink tunic. As recently as the First World War, baby boys were dressed in pink. “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls,” reported the trade publication of Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department in 1918.
So will we start to see pink permeating bachelor pads too? “I know men who love the colour,” says BakhtiarBakhitiari. “They wouldn’t be fearful of a pink tie or trouser, but it’s a bit of a
‘Start with a bold gesture in a small dose, like a big bunch of hot pink flowers’ ‘A pale pink room can be soothing and serene, or a bold pink room energising’
taboo still in interiors. I tend not to say the word but just show them the design scheme. These days they’ll usually go for it – paler pinks more than brights, perhaps.”
After all, why shouldn’t the colour be for all? Forget the Barbie connotations and you’re left with a colour that can be both uplifting or calming, depending on the shade. “Colour has such an affect on mood. A pale pink room can be soothing and serene, or a bold pink room energising,” says Bakhtiar-Bakhitiari.
So how should the uninitiated introduce the colour into their home? “My advice for clients is to start with a bold gesture in a small dose. Even a big bunch of hot pink flowers in a room is a great way to experiment with the colour,” says Miyar. From there, you can build up to using it more. “I made a bedroom headboard recently using navy blue and hot pink, and it’s been such a hit,” she says. “For another client, who was a bit more adventurous, I used Edward Bulmer’s “Nicaragua” paint, a rich mid-pink, on the bedroom walls,” she says.
Miyar recommends Phillip Jeffries’s Manilla Hemp wallpaper in fuchsia, which is handwoven. “I used it to cover an entire room recently,” she recalls. “The result is like a classic red room, but younger and fresher, a little more contemporary.” Another benefit of pink in the home is that it links colours very well. “It can warm up schemes,” says Bakhtiar-Bakhitiari. “I recently worked on a room where the client wanted a particular burnt orange and a taupe. I found it a bit cold, but when we added a little pinch of pale pink, it made it work.”
The designer sings pink’s praises for a bathroom, due to its soothing qualities. In fact, NBB Design is currently collaborating with a bathroom company on a range of pink enamelware. “We’re working on getting the colour just right at the moment. I think a very pale pink enamel could look beautiful.”
If you’re not ready to go for the full bubblegum bathroom suite, she recommends starting with textiles as an entry point. “Try towels or a bathmat; or in any room, go for cushions, lampshades, rugs – things that you can easily change.”
Bakhtiar-Bakhitiari has no doubt that once you’ve introduced the colour into your home, you’ll fall in love with it. “I developed a passion for pink through Yves Klein and his Monopink Series, created in the Sixties,” she says. “His pink coffee table is one of my all-time favourite pieces.” It is formed of a Plexiglas box, supported by metal legs and filled with pigment in Klein’s signature colours, blue or pink. It is still in production and available for the not-so-modest sum of £18,000; perhaps one to consider once you’re firmly committed to the colour.
Rest assured, the pink interiors trend won’t be going anywhere soon. Model and millennial favourite Kendall Jenner recently painted a room in her house “Baker-Miller Pink”, claiming she did so because the colour is “scientifically proven to calm you and suppress your appetite”.
While it’s not possible to conclusively confirm the veracity of this claim, we can presume that a significant portion of her 80.6million Instagram followers will take her word for it and follow her lead. Prepare to see sales of pink paint rocket.
Dusky: Millie’s Lounge at The Ned, right; a model wearing Chanel, left; Harry Styles in the pink, below right
Tasteful: a home in Chelsea designed by NBB Design, complete with an Yves Klein pink coffee table, above
Hot: the dining room in sketch, above; a model wearing Chanel, left; F Farrow & Ball’s paint in ‘S ‘Setting Plaster’, below