According to antiquated fashion rules none of us should subscribe to, there are some colour combinations that should never be worn together. Navy blue and black, for example, are often regarded as ugly because (gasp!) they look too similar. Or, purple and green, which is often compared to a certain TV fictional dinosaur who insists we’re a happy family. Yet no colour combo is more villanised than pink and red.
It’s the signature combo of Valentine’s Day, with millions of cheesy cards, giant plush toys, and chocolate boxes bearing the scarlet-and-blush combo, all exchanged by people wearing some version of this two-tone formula in the name of love, friendship, and a possible Tinder date.
Despite it being a colour combo that everyone loves to hate, it has long captivated the fashion zeitgeist, with designers and celebs giving the Strawberry Shortcake-approved combination some justice. Back in 2017, Emma Roberts wore a red gown with a pink fur stole by Diane von Fürstenberg to the Met Gala. Later, in 2019, celebs, including Mandy Moore in Brandon Maxwell and Taraji P. Henson in Vera Wang, made headlines for wearing pink-and-red outfits at the Emmy Awards. This year, though, even more designers seem keen on giving the color combo their definite stamp of approval — shushing the haters once and for all.
Take, for example, the Giambattista Valli spring 2022 lineup, which included a white feather dress featuring pink and red embellishments, paired with crimson sunglasses. Then, there was Portuguese brand Marques’ Almeida, which showed a brighter version of the colour combo, in the form of a poplin, asymmetrical pink dress with an attached crossbody red sleeve, as well as a pink slip dress with a scarlet button-down shirt underneath.
Meanwhile, Blumarine showcased a pre-autumn 2022 collection full of red-and-pink looks. A light pink stretchy dress with an asymmetrical hemline was paired with shiny red boots, while the reverse happened in a separate outfit. There were also red jumpers, paired with pink cargo pants (yes, the type that Regina George would approve of for Wednesdays!), as well flower chokers and fluffy bags in the colour palette. And there’s nothing gimmick-y or juvenile about this full-fledged berry embrace.
While the long-standing rule for colour-blocking used to be that opposing shades in the colour wheel (think: blue and orange or green and purple) were the best way to mix shades, brands and consumers are waking up to the idea of contrasting sister shades. And we're realising that we’ve been wasting time following unspoken rules for the sake of appearances.
To get in on this trend (and skip all the rules!), wear one garment that blends the both colours, as opposed to pairing two separate, contrasting pieces for a more minimalist look. Or, better yet, go with a monochrome red look with subtle hints of pink — be it a Y2K-ready flower choker or dainty rose sandals.