The Plascon Colour Forecast was released this week, offering insights into how we will colour our world in 2018 - every scenario the report presented included variations of what pop culture is calling 'millennial pink'. By Omeshnie Naidoo
Flesh. Not mine! The youthful Caucasian-kind is what comes to mind at the thought of “millennial pink”.
There are various hues of what is surely the colour of the moment and they’re all on a spectrum between beige and salmon.
Somewhere between pink’s feminist reappropriation and the rise of nudes, the colour - a near neutral - appeared.
Now you can find everything from a designer handbag to a toaster in its shades - which Plascon, in conjunction with global trend forecaster WGSN (which no doubt takes its cue from other global forecasters and forces), has confirmed will remain popular in 2018.
The truth is pink has been on the “rise” for numerous years.
However, international trends take time to filter into our local markets. On the South African scene it’s suddenly exploded, while internationally it’s likely the calm before the storm that is fiery red but that’s another story.
The forecast, which cobbles the all-encapsulating fashion, beauty, tech and decor industries among others, paints a few pictures.
There is Exotic Euphoria, described as where the distinction between natural and artificial blurs. These include jungle-inspired brights that are almost phosphorescent.
There is Soft Composition which offers room for contemplation. (Think bold retro accents alongside the muted colours.)
Craft Spirit is a rich global mix, expressed in a palette of pigmented hues, fruity accents and watery blues.
And one for the adventurous: Hi-Glo is the mash-up of digital and physical. It’s a rule-breaking palette of citrusy sorbet tones, soft pink, mid-toned primaries and grounding earthy colours to hold it all together.
Each story included “pink” - a nostalgic and futuristic pink, but not the pink we’ve always known.
Trend forecasting is fascinating largely because it’s showing us how we’re interpreting the world.
There are many points of entry on when and how pink evolved and what might have triggered its resultant fame - Kanye’s pink bomber, the 70s revival, that pink iPhone, feminism, Zayn Malik’s one-time pink hair - the debate would rage on.
For my generation, pink was always a girly, childish colour, associated with Barbie and pretty dresses.
Centuries before us pink, so close to red, was perceived as a bold, strong colour and therefore, according to the wisdom of the time, best for boys.
The gender binaries in each era worked well for advertisers, who in the 80s commercialised the baby industry with pink goods for girls and blue for boys. Even now, we’re the influencers and the consumers.
Right now the normcore (unsex, unpretentious) dressers are on a neutral bend and the near-neutral, flesh tone of “millennial pink”, which in its dusty hues is also calming, appeals to large masses of people all over the world. To me it’s fascinating.
However, as fashion began to move into gender-neutral spaces, with designers presenting androgynous looks to the masses, the stereotype began to come unhinged.
Feminism and surely other forces had us ordinary folk seeing pink as more than a colour reserved for girls’ bedrooms.
It helped that pop icons like Zayn Malik were dyeing their hair pink.
In my consciousness, the popularity of nudes might well have bolstered those efforts.
Normcore dressers loved nude. It was so much like beige. It was only after a bit they decided that one man’s nude was not another and suddenly beauty, fashion, decor and all those all bigger influencers in our lives began to recognise that there were numerous nudes. The flesh tone persisted and became more PC to call “blush”. Right now it’s known as millennial pink.
And it’s everywhere.