Seen on the Runway — Purple

Purple Painting

You might think it’s winter (or summer, depending on where you live), but in the fashion world it’s Pre-Fall. Gone are the days when the majority of designers created only two collections per year, and this week the Pre-Fall shows are here to present the new products that will come to stores in May, June, and July. There were many trends to be seen across the runways, but perhaps the most striking was the explosion of purple. From lilac to fuchsia to plum to wine, this vivid color was everywhere.

I love purple. However, I don’t have that many purple clothing items. It’s not because I avoid the color, but because it is generally underrepresented in the fashion world. If you set out to find purple, you’ll find it. But if you just wander into a store or browse a website, it’s likely that you will not end up buying anything purple because the landscape is dominated by other colors. I had always sensed this, but I also confirmed it systematically. After looking through the first 300 clothing items listed on the brand-diverse polyvore.com, I found that only 3 percent of the items were purple. 79 percent of the new clothes listed were either black, blue, white, or grey.

There is a theory that people tend to form opinions about color based on the objects of that color that they see. Because we see so many different things every day, this process feels subconscious. Purple is a beautiful color, but we don’t really see much of it while out and about. Because of this, the color has developed connotations of fantasy, playfulness, and dream states. Unfortunately, it can also be associated with artificiality.

But come on, a purple coat isn’t like a purple Christmas tree. Fashion appeals to the emotions more than to practicality, and the task of a good designer is to create a wearable fantasy for the customer. After all, a fantasy is a fantasy before it happens, and as it happens.

Fendi Pre-Fall 2016

Fendi Pre-Fall 2016

Neutral brown accents make this purple coat even more vibrant.

Tory Burch Pre-Fall 2016

Tory Burch Pre-Fall 2016

Blue, orange, and wine go well together when unified by lace.

Escada Pre-Fall 2016

Escada Pre-Fall 2016

A short coat and sweeping skirt stand out in magenta.

Monique Lhuillier Pre-Fall 2016

Monique Lhuillier Pre-Fall 2016

As the backdrop of myriad tiny flowers, the magenta of this skirt is quite delicate.

Zac Posen Pre-Fall 2016

Zac Posen Pre-Fall 2016

Lilac panels look sophisticated on this sleek column dress.

Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2016

Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2016

The brightness of fuchsia brings attention to every pleat of this sweeping gown.

Temperley London 4

Temperley London

This dramatic fuchsia dress looks lit from within.

Red Valentino Pre-Fall 2016

Red Valentino Pre-Fall 2016

Plum goes folk with dainty ruffles and bird motifs.

Rebecca Taylor Floral Silk and Lace Camisole Dress

Rebecca Taylor Floral Silk and Lace Camisole Dress

An eggplant floral is subdued and romantic.

Zac Zac Posen Pre-Fall 2016

Zac Zac Posen Pre-Fall 2016

Three gorgeous purple hues give a conservative look new life.

Credits:

Fendi photo — Giovanna Pavesi;       Painting — fineartamerica.com;      All other photos — Courtesy Photo 

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