Pink may be the quasi-official color of an entire generation, but millennials were far from the first group to discover its unique power — and they probably won't be the last. The polarizing hue has been associated with everything from masculinity and the working class to the more recent feminized and eroticized connotations, where everyone from Barbie to Bic (yep, those pens) has played with the hue.
But why does pink so often prove controversial? A new book explores the color's significance in fashion, art, and culture from the 18th century to the present day, with essays and a string of sugary imagery all in one place. Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color, in collaboration with an exhibit at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (opening September 7), is a feast for the eyes and the mind, with photos, ads, and artworks. From sources ranging from Hollywood films and a Fenty x Puma campaign to the museum's own archives, the retrospective takes visitors through the history of a color that, as it describes, "provokes exceptionally strong feelings of both attraction and repulsion."