On the catwalks, the red carpet and the high street, one flaming hue is spreading like wildfire. Perhaps as a counter to the coming of beige with this year’s craze for neutrals and the summer trend for impractically bright whites, shades of scarlet, ruby and tomato red are popping up on everything from ballet flats to ballgowns.
In the spring-summer collections, Hermes’ red boiler suit was a stand-out during Paris Fashion Week, and offered a slightly more dressy take on the now-ubiquitous utilitarian piece, paired with matching red sandals and handbag.
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Gucci took a similarly tonal approach, layering a bold red dress and coat over opaque red tights. To break up the head-to-toe colour, a white high-neck top peeked out from underneath.
Irish designer Simone Rocha used vibrant red to enliven an otherwise largely monochrome collection: black, white and muted florals were interspersed with red midi dresses and a co-ordinating blouse-and-city shorts set, with red sandals and headbands throughout.
At Valentino, a series of black and white looks was followed by an explosion of “Valentino red”, the vivid poppy hue that has become the brand’s signature (and from which its diffusion line, RedValentino, draws its name).
Over the years, the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Onassis, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Aniston and Anne Hathaway have turned to a red Valentino dress when they want to make an impact, and in the last few months, we’ve seen stars including Meghan Markle, Thandie Newton, Jane Fonda and Laura Dern stepping out in Valentino’s trademark colour.
Dern opted for red Valentino at the Golden Globes this year and while sitting front row at the fashion house’s menswear show, wearing a pleated silk shirt dress With its long sleeves and midi-length skirt, the design was covered-up and comfortable, yet still packed a punch.
Halle Berry favoured a mini hem for a sashay along the streets of New York City in a slouchy trench style by Antonio Berardi. Her look illustrates how well red applies to summer dresses, bringing a touch more formality that allows them to move seamlessly from day to night with a pair of metallic sandals.
If you’re after a more modest outfit, look to Drew Barrymore, who stepped out in a breezy red jumpsuit with chunky platforms. It’s a striking yet relaxed piece, ideal for those hot days when you just want to throw something on but still look like you’ve made an effort.
In the shops, you’ll find all manner of red pieces to help you achieve a head-to-toe look. There are co-ordinating sets at Next (see the blouse and top, below) or Reiss’ shorts suit, both of which would make an intriguing alternative to the usual wedding-guest frocks this season.
The handy thing about these is you can also wear them separately: the wide leg trousers with trainers, a T-shirt and denim jacket, or the blazer to turn up the drama on a tired dress.
Sundresses are particularly gorgeous and unexpected in this shade – LK Bennett’s broderie anglaise dress just needs a pair of espadrilles and you’ll immediately stand out from the pastels-and-florals pack.
For those petrified of loud colours, try adding a red blouse to your rotation, or easier still, a sleek ballerina flat. Allow the statement hue to be the focus of the outfit, and balance it out with simple silhouettes and classic colours.
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