And so, after a few days of battling with UK Internet, we resume with a quick laser-eye from London town before Milan hits full swing (Day 1 is already over and done with, and it’s 2am… such are the Italians). But, while it has been bucketing down since we landed in this sexy corner of Italia, London cleared up for just an hour or two some sunsets ago after TOPSHOP’s wildly successful Fall/Winter stomp-out – more on that later.
For now, we discuss the role of a killer red coat caught up in the navy. When I dropped by TOPSHOP’s intimidatingly engulfing Oxford Circus for a show fitting, the press girls on duty informed me that they had formulated a list of what select influencers (and Kate Moss) were wearing to the show. Nothing was to be repeated, they said. I was to pull, and they were to yes or no.
I roamed, I pulled, and upon assembling this look, they all looked at me a little strangely, confirmed that nobody had even remotely considered any of the pieces I’d selected, and shuffled back to their stations awkwardly contemplating the almost-orange and almost-blue (except Rachel – she was all for it, and promptly exercised her staff discount on the lot, which alleviated the tension a little).
The reaction, I thought, was couched in some forgotten subconscious childhood rules surrounding finger painting and diary doodles. As a kid, I was obsessed with symmetry. I loved nothing more than blobbing paint down one side of a page, then folding it in half to create a perfect mirrored butterfly. If it was a skinny top, it would be flared jeans; skinny pants meant a baggy tee, both not both of either. As to colours, this was the age of the twinset – all about the matchy matchy.
Then came third grade, when my teacher enlightened me on the power of the colour wheel for our Thursday afternoons, painting inanimate objects, comparing the splattered results with our desk mates, and re-considering 9-year-old career options. Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel are more memorable, she said, and primary colours should always be the centre of attention.
By the time I got to my final year of high school, I had huge black marker acronyms scrawled all over bright yellow paper, taped all over my room, alongside blue post-its and red stickers for no reason at all.
Three years on, again (hell I’m getting old), my bright red centre of attention caught the last shred of sunlight in London, more than my mirrored sunglasses could even begin to imagine. The idea of wearing clashing colours in the one look intimidates the best of us, and so it should. Regardless of your success rate, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be the most memorable outfit any passerby sees all day. But, here’s the formula: choose two opposite shades – red and blue, say, or green and purple. Take one of those colours and tone it the hell down. In this case, my navies are your layman’s blacks (but surely you’d agree that this sartorial situation would not be nearly as striking with black sweats and slacks). That said, it could just as well have been piercing sky blue and burgundy comme ça. In case #2, bright purple can be brought back down to earth with the perfect khaki trench. A canary yellow top with softer charcoal grey trousers. A blood orange with whatever powder blue coat every “fashion blogger” seems to be wearing at this point in time.
For the next tier up, more is more by way of texture. Silk, wool, jersey and leather weren’t enough, so I needed mirrors and messy hair.
Try laminated neoprene. Or soap suds.
Bob’s your Uncle.
I’m going to bed.