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Colorful Fashion May Pop On Screen But Designers Continue to Rely on Black

To know where color is going, Paris-based fashion search engine Tagwalk points out designers’ and retailers’ need to understand where it currently stands. A new report by the data company outlines how color has played out on the runway and identifies new opportunities in for the season ahead.

Though recent color forecasts call for brighter and more emotionally uplifting colors to coax consumers back into stores after COVID-19, recent data compiled by Tagwalk paints a more somber fall story.

Eternally cool—and a consistently easier sell than its brighter counterparts—black has dominated more than one-quarter of collections for the past four seasons, according to Tagwalk. The color is frequently associated with key words like evening wear, minimal, sparkling, dominatrix and gothic.

Balenciaga, Valentino and Celine are among the notable designer labels giving black the green light. In fact, 67 out of the 105 looks featured on the Balenciaga F/W ’20 catwalk, Tagwalk reported, were head-to-toe black ensembles. The first 25 looks of Valentino’s F/W ’20 show were also total black.

White trailed behind at 13.1 percent, followed by blue, beige and gray, each present in over 6 percent of collections.

However, when designers have chosen to use color, they make it count. Bold colors account for 11.7 percent of looks for the past four seasons, Tagwalk reported. In particular, the seasons had seen pastel and sorbet hues in 5.6 percent of collections, pink in 5.3 percent and red in 4.9 percent. Shades of green have been filtering in too, appearing in 4.5 percent of collections.

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Colorful fashion may pop on screen but designers continue to rely on black.
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The botanical hue is indicative of what’s next in runway color. Tagwalk data shows that neons—be it lime green or highlighter yellow—continue to gain momentum. Compared to the three previous years, the number of neon looks on the runway increased 40.5 percent in 2020 collections. Likewise, there’s an abundance of earth tones on the runway. Tagwalk reported that compared to the three previous years, earth tones have seen their use rise by 156 percent in 2020.

New opportunities in color blocking are sprouting up. Tagwalk has used the tag “color block” to describe 2.2 percent of runway looks from the past four seasons. The technique has predominately appeared in looks that include tailoring, coats and midi skirts.

Color trends also indicate that fashion is beginning to cycle out of periods of ’70s nostalgia and bold streetwear. The use of retro mustard has declined 38.7 percent in the four most recent seasons. Similarly, the number of burgundy looks has declined 37 percent, Tagwalk reported.

Meanwhile, colors that have enlivened streetwear are on the downturn. The frequency of orange fashion has declined just over 28 percent in the past four years, while purple has declined 26.7 percent.

Informa and Fashion Snoops examine how trends may be dictated by the emotional rollercoaster consumers are experiencing during COVID-19.
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Lilac, however, is gaining momentum, especially in the men’s market. With ‘It’ brands like Y/Project and Astrid Andersen pairing the light hue with activewear-inspired garments and deconstructed denim, Tagwalk reported that the number of uses of lilac on the runway have spiked 322 percent in 2020 compared to the three previous years.

This interest in soft shades, Tagwalk noted, is also evident in the rise of pastels, as seen in men’s shows by Louis Vuitton, Jacquemus and Lanvin. Pastel looks on the men’s catwalk have climbed 191 percent in 2020.