The word commonly used to describe a marriage between the colors of pink and orange is coral. This word is taken from marine invertebrates that inhabit tropical oceans and create a hard skeleton with sharp edges. The beauty of the branch-like coral reef itself has been used as a basis for design concepts for years, but in the fashion world, the color “coral” has been embraced over and over again during the past couple spring and summer seasons.
Coral tones can go from seriously intense to whispery pastel in range, but one thing is clear, designers LOVE it. Take a look at some of the ways designers at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week put this color to work in their runway shows and presentations in New York City. These are but a few of the pictures I have taken of garments that utilize this workhorse of the spectrum, and they point out just how versatile coral can be!
The Art Institute of New York City showcased its students with a runway show a few seasons ago that included this cropped, asymmetrical-hemmed suit. The color here is more orange than pink, but it really sets off the hi-low hem of the ivory blouse, doesn’t it? This is a unique look for sure. It may seem like coral overload, but just remember using a vibrant tone like this can be done as well in a subtle manner, just by incorporating it in as an accessory rather than a bold statement like this one.
Designer Renzo & Kai showed us a print top with a split sleeve done in a coral that is more of a 50/50 of pink and orange. Worn with a soft peach legging, it seems girly and edgy at the same time. The more intense color here works best on brunettes, but can be adapted for almost anyone, depending on what it’s paired with and whether it’s near the face or not.
Mara Hoffman’s collection for spring and summer last season showed a line of separates that ran the gamut in the coral shade range. Illustrated here is a crop top and loose, low-sling slacks. But, take note of all the tones in this picture as we also see the model behind in shades of hot pink as well. Since they’re all from the same family, they work in unison. This is a cardinal rule of fashion. Monochromatic always works when the tones are close in color value.
The spring suit by Noon by NOOR is decidedly on the peachier side of the coral spectrum, but the feather epaulets add a dash of high fashion in their deeper coloration. Once again we see the monochromatic color palette used to great effect. For practical purposes, each piece could also be worn separately with other possibly more contrasting tones, such as cool blues and greens. When we think of complementary tones we need look no further than the color wheel where opposites attract.
Perhaps the best illustration of the color world of coral is this last shot of one model in a medium tone coral evening gown, walking by another gal wearing a hot pink chiffon cocktail dress, and in the distant background we see a model in a cool teal blue. Look closely at the harmony and convergence of ALL of these colors and you’ll get an idea of how important our use of color in our wardrobes can be!
Thank goodness that at our Goodwill stores, we make a point of grouping items of similar color together to make it easier for you to gravitate towards those that you are predominantly drawn to. But it also makes it easy for you to take a look at a color like coral that you may not think is in your realm of fashion. I challenge you to take another look at adding one of fashions favorite tones to your spring and summer style arsenal. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be pleased to know that your purchase just helped someone else achieve education and independence.