It’s a brave woman who chooses to dress head to toe in yellow – but it sure is effective.
Eschewing potential comparisons with Sesame Street’s Big Bird (no one wants to be compared with Big Bird), Lena Dunham, pictured above, stepped out onto the red carpet at the Golden Globes earlier this month wearing a floor-sweeping Zac Posen strapless fishtail gown in the brightest yellow, above left. In doing so, she stood out, a glorious sun amid all the safer reds, pinks, nude and black favoured by her Hollywood rivals.
Lena Dunham, in case she has not yet entered your cultural radar, is the writer and star of smash hit US drama Girls, made by HBO and currently showing on Sky Atlantic HD. It’s about four young women living and working in New York, all of which sounds rather familiar, although these girls are more aspirational than glamorous, very much trying to make their way in a tough, image-obsessed world.
Not a conventional fashionista, Lena nonetheless dazzled in her bright yellow gown (though her tattoo caused a few sniffs). She demonstrated the power of yellow as a positive fashion force to be reckoned with, while underlining her status as Hollywood’s woman of the moment – and one who refuses to be tamed or categorised.
So, this coming spring, yellow spans the fashion colour spectrum and trends. At its boldest and brightest, it is one of the colours of the new Modern Art theme that is percolating through new season fashion, with rich, bold, saturated, primary colours and school-paint colours (known in some quarters as Bauhaus shades) worn either head-to-toe or blocking up against each other.
Team these clear brights with black and white for that Mondrian graphic effect, so try, say, a saturated bold yellow dress with a black belt and shoes. Roksanda Ilincic showed a long, flowing, bright yellow tunic dress with a nude ribbon belt, white cropped slim trousers and nude and white ribbon tie shoes, for an updated geisha look.
Bright yellow, is not for everyone (although bright yellow accessories really are, so try for a quick update), but fortunately this coming season’s yellow moods stretch all the way into the palest of pale yellow – a hint of a tint (or magnolia). Another strong theme for this spring is the fondant palette, and sugared lemon fits well into this. It seems to be the way most of the High Street has interpreted yellow, with Marks & Spencer and Miss Selfridge, for example, offering lovely, loose-tailored pieces such as duster coats and full skirts in mellow lemon, teaming with white and lemon lace and perhaps nude or white accessories.
Experiment to make sure that yellow, no matter what its intensity, does not drain you. A scarf or top in a warm nude or pink can help here.