TRACKING THE TREND
We’ve had primary colour blocking and secondary colour clashing but, for autumn/winter, designers are exploring a tertiary palette. They’re fusing more subtle hues using dégradé, an effect where similar colours are shaded together. It’s akin to when your two-scoop order of raspberry and vanilla ice cream slowly starts melting into one. And in its sartorial form, it’s almost as delicious.
The first recorded use of the word as a dyeing technique occurred in 1841, when special “rainbowed” printing blocks were used on textiles. Dégradé, sometimes called ombré, is regularly used in couture, but this season it also appeared on the ready-to-wear runways. At JW Anderson, egg-yolk oranges flowed into sunny-side-up yellows on silky two-pieces; while at Lanvin, midnight black turned into midnight blue on full-length gowns. Sies Marjan, a New-York-based designer, has developed a reputation for his chromatic aesthetic, and for autumn/winter upped his use of dégradé. A faux fuzzy coat flowed from raspberry to pistachio, twisted whorls of mercurial hot pinks and blues appeared on sleeveless dresses, while silky trouser suits merged jade and the palest of blush. At Blumarine, sequins faded from silver to ivory, while Acne Studios created more of a boho feel with gradient-hued knitwear.
Anything that fades from dark to light or vice versa is going to have a widening effect, so those who prefer their clothes to make them appear taller and slimmer would do well to look to Isabelle Fox, who used the technique vertically on her “Veronica” silk dress. Another way to incorporate dégradé into your wardrobe is to choose just one piece. Roland Mouret’s draped back top in blue and grey would look chic paired with dark trousers, while Reiss’s blue and lilac metallic skirt would look great with a chunky knit or a white tee.
There are plenty of accessories that nod to the trend too. Try Fendi’s square-shaped sunglasses in gold and pink, while a graduating cashmere scarf from Johnstons of Elgin can’t fail to please.
DÉGRADÉ DE LUXE, 1991
The Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani takes a bow with the Canadian supermodel Yasmeen Ghauri, who is wearing a gown bedecked with tulle dégradé roses.
LILAC MEETS PARMA VIOLET, 2010
Zoe Saldana may not have won an Academy Award in 2010 for her role in Avatar, but she topped many of the best-dressed lists in this parmaviolet-hued chiffon gown from Givenchy.
UPGRADED DÉGRADÉ, 2018
Sies Marjan created head-totoe dégradé looks for his autumn/ winter show, with everything from bucketshaped hats to slinky dresses getting the dégradé treatment.
BRITTA CABLE-KNIT COTTON SWEATER £460, Sies Marjan (matchesfashion.com) GALA GLITTER POINTY TOE FLATS £425 (jimmychoo.com) IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADSA full-skirted ball gown in pink ombré silk, photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue, 1951
£245, Fendi (net-a-porter.com) OMBRE CASHMERE SCARE£380, Johnstons of Elgin (net-a-porter.com)
METALLIC OMBRE MIDI SKIRT£155, Reiss (johnlewis.com)