Tuesday 18 December 2018

How to wear... tonal red

Time to ditch your neutrals - autumn's hottest shade is designed to be worn head-to-toe, writes Meadhbh McGrath

Arizona Muse. Photo: Getty Images
Arizona Muse. Photo: Getty Images
Amal Clooney. Photo: GC Images
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Meadhbh McGrath

This season, fashion wants you to wear red. Designers collectively arrived at 'the colour' for autumn-winter, and it's one you're encouraged to wear head-to-toe.

It emerged as a key shade at New York Fashion Week, where Victoria Beckham and Proenza Schouler sent models down the runway wrapped up in fiery tones, but its 'It' hue status was cemented in Milan, where Max Mara featured four all-over red looks and Fendi outfitted Kendall Jenner in a striking red power coat and over-the-knee boots.

Dubbed 'tonal dressing', the styling trend involves wearing various shades of one colour from top to toe and it's a handy solution for those fretting about what colours to wear red with: the contrast between a bright red and a solid black or white can look harsh, while neutrals don't always work either.

Instead, Max Mara, Victoria Beckham and Roksanda paired bright cherry tones with sultry crimson and deep burgundy - shades in the same colour family that don't clash but happily don't match perfectly either, adding richness and interest to a look.

There's an entry point for everyone this season, as the looks varied from dressy to casual. Chloe's velvet party dress with heart cut-out was an instant hit, while Jil Sander presented workwear-appropriate suiting, Marc Jacobs offered chic tracksuits and Roksanda and Balenciaga showcased oversized knits.

Of course, for many of us, the concern is that wearing red means automatically inviting too much attention to yourself, especially for those who live in shades of navy, grey and beige. Red is unapologetically bold and while it's a go-to for evening or occasionwear, it requires a certain bravery to pull it off for everyday. The key is to get your shade right. Consider it similar to hunting down your perfect red lipstick: you'll need to try a few shades to find out whether you need a warm or cooler tone, but once you've found the hues that flatter, you can throw them on with ease.

Amal Clooney stepped out in a gorgeously vibrant Bottega Veneta skirt suit when she returned to work last month, pairing it with a pussy-bow blouse in an orange-toned red. She's known for choosing statement looks when making an important speech, and the 70s-inspired power suit certainly fit the bill for her UN address.

Model Arizona Muse offered another take on tonal dressing in the front row at Stella McCartney's autumn-winter show, styling a slitted maxi dress in brilliant scarlet with a striking crimson coat. She demonstrates how reds work better by wearing the brightest shade as a base and going darker with the pieces you add on top.

If you already have red items in your wardrobe, you can't go wrong with them. The emphasis is on colour rather than silhouette, so you don't have to invest in a whole raft of new pieces.

If you're worried about looking too shouty, tone it down a notch by styling vivid reds with an oxblood handbag or boots to make it easy to wear day to day.

Irish Independent

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