After leaving the delightful pink womb that was the Mansur Gavriel presentation on Monday evening, I found myself at Dimes restaurant for dinner. My friend and I chose to sit at a pink table in front of a purple floral arrangement. We ordered green salad off white menus and white frozen yogurt off green menus. It was the middle of New York Fashion Week, and as I looked around, I suddenly realized that I’d spent the last five days passing from one softly lit, pastel-colored ambiance to the next. It was all a bit dizzying.
First, there were Refinery 29’s neon-lit 29 Rooms, featuring the leader of the pastel posse, Petra Collins. Next, it was Sandy Liang’s presentation complete with pink shag rug and skateboard. I ended my evenings in the blue room at Elvis Guesthouse, taking selfies in the designated floral photo nook. This summer, we saw Molly Goddard’s tutus at Dover Street Market and Rebecca Dayan’s soft watercolors. The list goes on. But what exactly is going on here? Why can’t I escape this pastel-colored tunnel?
Specifically with regard to fashion, it seems as though emerging designers today are using color as a signifier of their brand, rather than a logo. This caused trouble in pastel paradise during New York Fashion Week this season, when Maryam Nassir Zadeh announced that she was taking legal action against Mansur Gavriel for stealing her watermelon suede. What’s most interesting is that while the designs of shoes were almost identical, what Zadeh was focused on was the color.
“What’s your favorite color?” is one of the first questions we learn to ask. At a young age, it’s a way to describe yourself when you’re at a lack for complex words. In this way, fashion designers are not only using color as a way to define themselves, but also the cool clique that they (and you if you buy their products) belong to. It’s no accident that Maryam Nassir Zadeh models eat at Dimes and Rebecca Dayan is featured on blogs like Into the Gloss. They all share the same aesthetic, and of course, color palette. Their worlds blur together like watercolors.
There’s something muted about this particular aesthetic though—shallow, even. While pastels evoke a strong sense of femininity and sexuality (not to mention a cuteness that feels almost biologically impossible to reject), they also have an airiness that, at the end of the day, leaves you a little empty. Is there anything beyond this aura? Will it last? The thing about colors is that without good base, they eventually fade in the spotlight.