Colors    Trends

2023 is the Year of Pink

Barbiecore, viva magenta and more coming your way!

Blame it on my irreverent penchant for films, but when I think about the color pink, my mind conjures two rather disparate images. The first is of the unabashedly-pink Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. The second, more interestingly, is that of Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter franchise.

At first glance, the comparison couldn’t have been more incongruous. Elle swathes herself in layers of pink as her armor of confidence, whereas Umbridge’s entire wardrobe centers singularly around exhibiting her as the odious character that she is. Yet, even among these wildly different instances, there is a unifying thread: pink is a signifier of power. And thus, pink’s position within the color palette is unique: arguably, no other shade is as politically-charged and divisive. Perhaps this is why Elle so famously proclaims, “Whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed” – it’s simply irreplaceable!

But now, let us turn to the more fashion side of things. Of course, the cultural cache of pink is formidable, with the shade appearing on the runways nearly every season. And pink ready-to-wear and accessories have long been hailed as instant mood-boosters, which, not to mention, are highly versatile too. This year, however, it appears that the “pink frenzy” has literally overtaken the luxury industry, growing into a full-blown trend in itself, and today, we take a look at the reasons behind the color’s sudden popularity. In 2023, pink is the new black, after all!

Pink as a… Masculine Color?

For nearly all of recent history, pink has appeared traditionally feminine, a rather unwarranted and highly-gendered role many find restrictive. But less than a hundred years ago, as CNN reports, pink was more readily associated with masculinity! Similar to the “more active, more aggressive” red, pink was deemed stronger than blue (the two hues commonly used for infant clothing at the time). And according to a 1927 survey on US stores by Time Magazine, 60 percent of respondents ascribed pink to boys!

However, the tides shifted in the post-WWII period when menswear pivoted towards neutral shades following years of military service. On the other hand, advertisers attempted to feminize women, who’d now returned home from the workforce, through frivolous outfits in shades of pink.

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An attendee from NYFW Spring 2023 in a pink ensemble.

Pink Trends Over the Years

Since then, the color has remained largely confined to the women’s department. But this is also where most of its subsequent developments have occurred. Case in point? The Y2K!

Pink was a major force to be reckoned with in the early-2000s, with clever product placements in Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, and Sex & the City cementing its status in pop culture. Pair the frenzied demand for these on-screen protagonists’ pink LV Pochettes and Dior Saddles with the must-have ensemble of the era – Juicy Couture tracksuits, also in visually-torturous shades of hot pink and magenta – and you have an era almost exclusively defined by the hue. And once people came on board with the sheer versatility of pink, demand for the color (thankfully, in lighter shades) remained steady, even when the trend of over-the-top fashion waned in the post-recessionary period.

Louis Vuitton Papillon Pink

2017 was another major year for pink, as not one but two major trends sparked interest in the color. On the one hand, the very first trappings of a Y2K-resurgence materialized in the form of Millennial Pink (formally dubbed Rose Quartz by Pantone), that, inspired by the aughties-pink (but not quite as eye-wateringly vivid), subsequently popped up in the campaigns of hip, young brands, like Mansur Gavriel and Acne Studios.

This was also the year Simon-Porte Jacquemus launched his scandalously mini-sized Le Chiquito bag, integrating Millennial Pink into his palette, which has since become a house staple. Plus, for the brand’s 10th anniversary, its Spring/Summer 2020 show was completely dedicated to the shade – a clear nod to pink as a mainstay in fashion!

Why 2023 is the Year of Pink

Ever since the onset of Millennial Pink, it seems like every year, there has been a specific, non-neutral color dominating the runways, from Louboutin red to Tiffany blue and Bottega green. Since late-2022, however, the entire pink family appears to have undergone a massive resurgence.

It all began with the announcement of the Barbie movie leading to the micro-trend of Barbiecore, with hot pink pieces making their way into your Instagram feed and the red carpets alike. Then onwards, the color has only risen in popularity, with Valentino hosting a fully fuchsia-themed show, Versace releasing bubblegum pink versions of its La Medusa collection, and Hermès’ veritable armada of pinks seeing their resale values go through the roof!

Versace Crystal Medusa

And because of the rising prevalence of pink and an industry-wide shift towards gender fluidity, the movement for the color is expected to pick up further steam in 2023. In fact, one of the easiest ways to show you’re trend-savvy is by following the color of the moment, and having options from the pink family makes it convenient for fashionistas to adhere to the zeitgeist without overhauling their wardrobes, whether it be via something as small as a statement-making pink phone-pouch, or an all-over monochrome-pink ensemble à la Anne Hathaway.

Finally, with summer on the horizon, and an inclination towards quieter luxuries, perhaps more muted, pastel pinks will soon make their way into the cool-girl lexicon. And Pantone’s proclamation of Viva Magenta as the color of the year goes to show that darker, more brooding pinks are something to watch out for in 2023 too!

Anne Hathaway.jog .jpg

Truth be told, gone are the days when pinks were perceived as saccharine and superfluous. Nowadays, the shade not only fits right in with any and every outfit, but it has also been re-imagined as a bold shade for anyone and everyone, beyond traditional gender roles and social constraints. And furthermore, pink has existed in nature since time immemorial – filling up the sky up at sunrise and sunset, indicating the boundless possibilities and hopes associated with it!

So, go out into the world today in something pink, it’s about time we showed the love it truly deserves.


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