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How to wear... red and pink

It’s this season’s favourite combination, but it can be tricky to pull off. The key to mastering a colour clash is to be brave — and understand the palette that works for you, writes Meadhbh McGrath

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Alexa Chung. Photo: Getty

Alexa Chung. Photo: Getty

T-shirt, €25, & Other Stories

T-shirt, €25, & Other Stories

Hoops, €15, & Other Stories

Hoops, €15, & Other Stories

Heeled sandals, €65, Dune

Heeled sandals, €65, Dune

Jeans, €145, Weekend Max Mara at Brown Thomas

Jeans, €145, Weekend Max Mara at Brown Thomas

Bag, €39.95, Zara

Bag, €39.95, Zara

Superga trainers, €81, Schuh

Superga trainers, €81, Schuh

Trousers, €82, M&S

Trousers, €82, M&S

Blouse, €50 (sale price), Reiss

Blouse, €50 (sale price), Reiss

Slingback heels, €45, Next

Slingback heels, €45, Next

Skirt, €29.99, New Look

Skirt, €29.99, New Look

Jumper, €35.99, Mango

Jumper, €35.99, Mango

Dress, €150, boden.co.uk

Dress, €150, boden.co.uk

Coat, €370, Max & Co at Arnotts

Coat, €370, Max & Co at Arnotts

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Alexa Chung. Photo: Getty

Rules are made to be broken, and that feels especially true in fashion. The old guidelines have been thrown out the window - wear trainers at work! Shop in the men's department! Make like Helena Christensen and put on a bustier at any age!

Such rulings from on high feel particularly stale when it comes to colour clashing: combining black and navy is now considered the height of chic, while Meghan Markle proved brown and black can look stylish together at the launch of her Smart Set collection last week. But clashing becomes an even riskier game when it comes to brighter, bolder shades - namely red and pink.

The key to mastering the colour clash is to be brave. That doesn't have to mean stepping out in head-to-toe scarlet and neon pink. It can be as simple as wearing a red lip with a pink outfit or adding a red bag or heels to a pink dress - a look suitable for even the most conservative occasions, as evidenced by Kate Middleton at her nephew Archie's christening.

The effect is striking, thanks to how unexpected the pairing is. It's what makes Prada's colour-blocked duchess satin dress one of the hottest pieces of the season, seen at the Met Gala on Carey Mulligan and in glossy magazine shoots on the likes of Christy Turlington Burns and Mariah Carey.

Designers presented dramatic and understated interpretations of the colour clash for autumn-winter, from Erdem's ruffled floral dresses with big, black bows to Jacquemus' vibrant pink trousers and matching wool coat, revealing a knitted top in tomato red underneath. Simone Rocha paired palest pink with fiery red in full-skirted dresses with satin accents, while Victoria Beckham broke up the colour clash by teaming a pink high-neck jumper and deep red trousers with a navy wool coat.

Beckham's styling offers a lesson in softening the colour clash, whether you opt for darker tones, this year's trending neutrals (especially tan) or a fresh white. Blue denim works well, too: for an entry-level take on the look, try & Other Stories' striped T-shirt with a pair of jeans and trainers.

Begin by figuring out your palette. Maybe you prefer highlighter brights, or you might fancy something a little more muted. The safest combination is a pale pink with a russet red, a solid option for workwear - try Marks & Spencer's trousers with Reiss's silk blouse.

From there, you can take things up a notch, like Camila Mendes. This block-colour approach is a particularly good one to try at home: rather than putting together two equally bright shades, the pastel of the bottom half will nicely offset the boldness of the top. We'd recommend a more fluid silhouette, such as New Look's pleated midi with Mango's loose-knit jumper, to temper the sharpness of the clash.

If you're not keen on sourcing your own separates, find a piece that combines both colours to do the hard work for you, like Claire Foy and Alexa Chung. Foy's dramatic Valentino gown immediately set her out as one of the year's best-dressed when she arrived at the Venice Film Festival last August, while Chung demonstrated the power of a vivid red and pink colour clash in a party-ready Emilia Wickstead dress at London Fashion Week.

At Boden, you'll find a shirt dress that smartly combines the colours in a flattering and very wearable shape, while at Brown Thomas, look to printed or colour-blocked jumpers from Chinti and Parker, Irish designer Lucy Nagle and Red Valentino.

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However you choose to do it, the tones play off each other beautifully: the alluring red disrupts the saccharine girlishness of the pink, making for this season's most coveted colour palette.

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