How to wear...coral
It’s Pantone’s colour of the year, and the warm hue is guaranteed to bring some cheer to grey January days
Say farewell to millennial pink. The Insta-friendly shade is set to be ousted by Pantone's colour of the year, 'living coral', which the company describes as "nurturing" and "life-affirming".
It's an interesting choice at a time when headlines fume about climate change and coral reefs dying out (last year, the head of the UN Environment Programme said the reefs are at "make or break point"). While much of the world's coral is being bleached by warming seas, Pantone's version glows like a beautiful Instagram sunset.
Yet Pantone, the authority on colour in the design world, remains optimistic, and the warm hue is sure to be a street style and social media favourite. While it may not capture the current moment as intended, it is certain to liven up dreary days and offer a point of interest when contrasted with this year's dominant palette of neutrals.
Coral hasn't had a major moment in fashion since its peak in the 1950s, when it appeared in coats, gowns and hats by Parisian couturiers Schiaparelli, Dior and Balenciaga. After a short modish stint in the 60s, it was back with a bang in the 80s, when coral lipstick and Lycra to match was the order of the day.
We've seen hints of coral on the catwalks in the last decade, but the spring collections delivered a smattering of striking looks. Prada nodded to the mods with coral skirts and camisoles styled with knee-high socks and satin headbands, while Marc Jacobs drew on 80s extravagance with voluminous ruffled dresses and rich feathered coats.
There were more accessible pieces, too: Altuzarra presented sun-ready gingham separates, and Temperley London subverted tailored shorts and gladiator sandals by rendering them in soft coral.
Roksanda is known for her unique colour combinations and for 2019 she paired vivid coral with marigold and black in breezy midi dresses, oversized blazers and evening gowns. Buzzy New York label Sies Marjan has established itself as similarly inventive with colour, offering floaty asymmetric hems and casual tops for spring with pale yellow skirts and overcoats.
Model Martha Hunt showcases how to nail off-duty style in coral Sies Marjan. Her tonal ensemble combines a slouchy rollneck, layered midi skirt and knee boots in varying shades of red for a cosy yet vibrant cold weather look.
On the high street, you'll find lots of coral knitwear, from Miss Selfridge's two-tone jumper to River Island's sleek turtleneck. For a contemporary take on the trend, give the knits an edge by styling with leather trousers and box-fresh trainers to dial down the sugary sweetness.
Coral can also help to add a feminine touch to utilitarian pieces, especially in shades of khaki and tan: COS's silk blouse will complement neutral-toned skirts and chinos beautifully, and will make a spirited pairing with rigid white denim.
The slip skirt has been a huge hit on the high street, and coral iterations will work well with an oversized jumper or a T-shirt and blazer. For nights out, you can dress it up with strappy pointed heels and some sparkling jewels, and for day, you can just throw a utility jacket on top.
For evening, look to Angela Bassett in a strapless coral jumpsuit for left-field Hollywood glamour. The waist detail flatters her figure, while she offsets the lively hue with turquoise earrings and gold courts.
Follow her lead with cult Danish brand Stine Goya's fluid silk dress: sprightly green shoes and hammered gold earrings will really make it sing.
If you're tentative about diving into the trend, test the waters with a pair of coral courts. Next's version pays homage to Victoria Beckham's favourite style, and you can take your cue from her royal wedding outfit by wearing with all navy for a burst of colour.
Alternatively, use the flamboyant footwear as a counterpoint to a bold polka dot dress - they're guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.