What? Green: the colour but also the environmental movement, the new summer blockbuster Green Lantern and the latest paparazzi-magnet, royal in-law Pippa Middleton, who wore a long green silk dress by Alice Temperley to her sister’s wedding reception. It’s the colour of grass. Of summer. Of kryptonite. Oops. Beware, though, you need to exercise caution when adding it to your wardrobe.
Why? Fashion is not rocket science and the leap from socio-cultural conversation to catwalk can be as simple as, “Hear it, make it, show it.” According to Veronique Henderson of image consultants Colour Me Beautiful, “The colour of grass and leaves conveys a sense of calm and reassurance. When wearing green, you show creativity and imagination.” This is the season of bright colours and it’s a more quirky alternative to the hot pink that’s fast becoming ubiquitous on the high street. Plus, in Green Lantern, power rings give super strength. Who wouldn’t want that?
Where? All the colours of the rainforest were on the catwalks, from neon green at Christopher Kane to spearmint at Alexander Wang. Michael Kors used green to truly fresh effect. Alongside long knitted tube dresses and maxi skirts, he showed summery looking, leaf-printed, hand-smocked dresses and skirts that called to mind a neat privet hedge. At Prada, baize green was served up neat on boxy skirt suits and as part of the designer’s minimal baroque print featuring monkeys and bananas.
Then there’s the microtrend for green bags, as seen at Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Prada and Ferragamo. Consider this a rehearsal for autumn/winter, for which Versace showed mini-dresses and coats decorated with a jade branch-like design; Gucci’s homage to the 1970s featured teal fur chubbies and snakeskin jackets, while Roland Mouret’s “royal” green (as he describes them) dresses had the audience at his show mentally shopping from their seats.
Should you invest? From a longevity point of view, now is a good time to buy into green but, perhaps, a bigger question is, will it make you look like the Grinch, the Riddler, the Wicked Witch of the West or any other green-faced, green-clad menace? An ill-chosen shade of green can make you look, well, ill. It’s a matter of trial and error but, according to Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s director of colour, “Blue greens are universally flattering to many skin types.”
The safest bet is to stick to accessories. Suzanne Pendlebury, personal shopper at Matches, says “Green is surprisingly versatile because it works well worn against dark denim for a more relaxed fun look or you can play with colour-blocking and clash your bag against a bright blue dress for strong impact.” Mulberry has embraced emerald as a key colour for its latest bags, such as the Lily and a green Alexa (oversized Mulberry Alexa, £925, www.matchesfashion.com). For a bolder statement, try Asos White’s lime Harlem shoulder bag (£145) or Comme des Garçons’ neon zip wallets, which double as cool clutches (£87). Accessories may be cheating but, if you can’t find a shade to suit you, remember that the aim is to inspire the green-eyed monster, not to look like one.
Designer’s choice: Emerald or jade?
Roland Mouret “I did an autumn/winter trunk show three weeks ago and everyone went mad for the green dresses. They’re not a plastic green, there’s emerald behind it – I call it a ‘royal’ green – and it’s a colour that works on about 80 per cent of women. There was a time when the rules of colour were so strict but I think that’s changed. People are quite emotional about it – it’s powerful and suggests happiness. New shades of colour are part of fashion changing, season after season. I think in the 1980s people had the same reaction to black; they discovered it, then stayed in it.”
Natalie Rykiel “I love green, I can’t tell you why ... my jade rings, opaline vases, emerald green bags, English racing green shoes, I mix all these with black and I feel very ‘me.’”
Solange Azagury-Partridge “Emerald green is my all-time favourite colour, both the gemstone and for clothes. I think green in general works as a colour for me because I have an olive complexion and dark hair. That said, I’m sure there is a particular shade of green that works for everyone. It would just be a question of matching it to your individual complexion and colouring.”