Ev­ery­body’s lov­ing pink, says Jeremy Lang­mead

Flamingo, bub­blegum, rosé — what­ever your pre­ferred shade, one colour will dom­i­nate sum­mer 2018.

Esquire (UK) - - Contents - By Jeremy Lang­mead

Who would have thought that one of the best-sell­ing colours for men last sum­mer was dusty pink? Well, it was. It was such a suc­cess that it looks as if it will top the colour charts again this sum­mer, since all the de­sign­ers have hit on the hue once more. There are shades of dusty, neon, pas­tel and flesh pink on ev­ery­thing, ev­ery­where. Come rain or shine, it seems we’ll all be look­ing ex­ceed­ingly pink and perky. Well, per­haps not perky. How­ever de­lec­ta­ble the colour may be, it can be a tricky one to wear; es­pe­cially when nearer the dusty end of the spec­trum.

I’m wear­ing a pale pink sweat­shirt as I write this col­umn. I’m a method writer in case you didn’t know. I don’t write this page, I live it. The sweat­shirt is cot­ton jersey, a great fit, and is by Hol­i­day Boileau, the brand owned by the editor of French Vogue’s hus­band. So far, so good. There are, how­ever, two small down­sides. One is the fact it says “Hol­i­day” across the front. Nothing wrong with a cheer­ing slo­gan at all, ex­cept that I’m sit­ting at my desk, in an of­fice of around 800 peo­ple, on the top floor of West­field Lon­don shop­ping cen­tre in a smog­filled cor­ner of Shepherd’s Bush. You couldn’t re­ally get less “Hol­i­day” than that (even if you’re sit­ting on the ter­race of the new John Lewis café with a bottle of juice and a straw). Clearly, my sweat­shirt is telling a damned lie. Second prob­lem is that the dusty pink colour ef­fort­lessly matches the pale, sun-de­prived flesh tones of my face; it’s tricky to tell where my neck stops and my cloth­ing starts. I look like a gi­ant fin­ger with a face drawn on it. Does any­one re­mem­ber the old TV show Finger­bobs? There’s a rea­son why there was only one se­ries.

It’s no surprise men have whole­heart­edly em­braced the colour, of course. First of all, we’ve been fear­less about bold colours and pat­terns for yonks now. Gr­rrr! we say when some­one throws a pas­tel in our direc­tion to­day. Pop into the chang­ing rooms down­stairs in the Gucci store on Bond Street and it’s heav­ing with fire­fight­ers and farm­ers from the Home Coun­ties sali­vat­ing over bright pink sweat­shirts with pic­tures of teddy bears on the front, or knitwear em­bla­zoned with pic­tures of Snow White. There’s a par­tic­u­lar shade of pink — the afore­men­tioned fleshy one — that has be­come so fash­ion­able it’s even been given its own name: mil­len­nial pink.

And it’s not just cov­er­ing clothes, but en­tire restau­rants and McMan­sions, too. The din­ing room in Lon­don’s pop­u­lar Sketch restau­rant in May­fair, de­signed by the artist David Shrigley, is plas­tered in pink walls and ban­quettes, and news­pa­per prop­erty pages re­cently re­ported that multi-mil­lion pound man­sions at the top end of the mar­ket strug­gling to sell were sud­denly find­ing buy­ers if they re­placed their neu­tral Kelly Hop­pen-style colour pal­ettes with a lick of mil­len­nial (or mil­lion-ial) pink paint.

Ask the ex­perts why and, pre­dictably, they’ll bring up the sub­ject of gen­der pol­i­tics, Brexit, Trump and the Pink Pound (I made that up), the re­al­ity is more likely that it shows up well on In­sta­gram. And, un­less like me you’re wear­ing your dusty pink in that bu­colic-sound­ing tri­an­gle of concrete be­tween Shepherd’s Bush, Wood Lane and White City, pink is a colour that con­jures up sun­drenched hol­i­days in the Balearics: think early-morn­ing beaches of San An­to­nio lit­tered with flesh-coloured con­doms; or the rain-spat­tered bins at the end of Chel­tenham Ladies Day over­flow­ing with plas­tic beakers of blush Pros­ecco; and that happy in­terim colour be­tween pink and pale brown that you spot half­way down the doner ke­bab ro­tis­serie and pray to God won’t end up in your take­away car­ton.

I sup­pose the world is so bleak at the mo­ment, the tastemak­ers have de­cided we all need a lick of mil­len­nial paint to cheer us up. It will help if we look at ev­ery­thing through rose-tinted spec­ta­cles, or through the bot­tom of a glass of rosé, or while wear­ing a pale pink sweat­shirt that says “Hol­i­day” across the front.

Hot pink (from top): vari­a­tions of the shade on the cat­walk in col­lec­tions by Gucci, Oliver Spencer and Gior­gio Ar­mani; pink pioneer David ‘The Hoff’ Has­sel­hoff in TV’s Knight Rider (1982–’86)

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