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The Blues Are Back In Town: Fashion Week 2012

From all reports, if you hanker after blue, come Spring 2013 you’ll be a very happy camper. And I’m talking true blue – honest-to-goodness, full-pigment blue. It’s Fashion Week in New York right now, and the direction is clear.

A brief cultural digression, before we lose ourselves in fabric and frill. High WASPs wave a very blue flag. The hue works ever so well with our skin tone. There are regional variants, of course. In New England, navy and green piping. In Northern California, navy ikat with white and orange. In New York City, navy jacquard behind black skulls, breaking multiple rules as only New Yorkers can. But blue is our comfort color, and as a proponent of comfort above all, I’m happy to see fashion’s palette shift.

Here’s Tadashi Shoji, evolved past earlier Mother of the Bride offerings. This could be a great city dress. Should we call this shade “cornflower?”

Tadashi Shoji SS 2013

And this could be a great, um, dress for a life I don’t lead but enjoy imagining? In, as Kathy Peck said in Pinterest, “peacock?”

Tadashi Shoji SS 2013

Tory Burch, who makes clothes I actually can and do wear, has a great SS2013 line. Blue windowpane with a little contrast belt. Multi-tonal blue, my favorite.

Tory Burch 2013

And back to navy. Monique Lhullier did a great lace over blush number. I confession I’m a sucker for lace over almost anything – in my imaginary life of course.

SS 2013 Monique Lhullier navy blue

 Then we have The Row, Mary Kate and Ashley’s line. I know. Isn’t that just amazing, that those two grew up and produced a real fashion line? A brief aside. Did you see Tavi Gevinson’s interview here? Speaking of great young women and people who follow up on their talent? I love her.

Where were we? Oh yes. Blue. Was distracted by little things like optimism and hope for the future. Back to navy.

Finally, lest we become inured to blue’s charms, here’s a secret. Schiaparelli pink is blue’s kissing cousin. Yes. It’s blue in red clothing, if you will. This is from Chado Ralph Rucci.

Chado Ralph Rucci SS 2013

Onward. One question for you all. Does true clear blue look good on everyone? Or at least good enough? Or, put another way and more overtly, is there a coloring that finds blue as toxic as I find the yellows?

All images via, who do a great job of covering shows. I’m Pinning the pieces I like here. BTW, Mary Jo also posted about blues recently, in one of her art posts. Take a look.



39 Responses

  1. I don’t think there’s any skin coloring that some shade of blue (or multiples) look good in, it’s just such a complementary color. I feel my best in blue ~ navy or a slate blue. A really beautiful collection of dresses, thanks for the “peacock” shout-out, and I wish the Chado Ralph Rucci were blue, although I’m sure it’s way too expensive anyway. A truly gorgeous dress, as are they all.

  2. Yes, there was a lot of blue at the shows! But also pastels, yellow and gold. I didn’t see all these shows you featured (saw Tory and CHADDO) but am personally loving the classic navy for spring, which of course works well with everything! I already bought a couple of The Row navy pieces for fall- and totally agree with you – am always amazed by those girls!

  3. I agree with Kathy, I think there is a blue for everyone. I have a warm undertone so can’t wear the icy blues or the powder blues, but love the cornish blue and navy, of course, always navy. Any my favorite color combination is blue and green–dark, light, I don’t care. Just love that combo. Fun post, thanks!

  4. Yes, blue, especially navy, is toxic next to my skin. When I was young, I had that fair-skinned, glowing red cheeks, fair Celtic thing going on and I could wear any color but, you guessed it yellow. Then as I aged, my skin began to darken, and that Black Irish genetic component began to dominate and dark blues now look horrific. I can, on occasion, wear bright blues, but it’s still a little iffy. It has to be the right blue, if you know what I mean. Of course, now I can wear yellow. It’s a trade off, obviously.

  5. I love and wear a lot of blue. I have dark brown hair in a warm tone. My family is Scottish, English, and northern German so I have that fair, freckled skin with red cheeks. My eyes are a true green.

    I can wear true blue and most shades of blue. Navy is tricky because dark hair against dark blue isn’t always flattering. I still wear it though. I mean…it’s navy.

  6. Mmmm, beautiful colors but incredibly bad for my coloring! As a pale redhead (a true autumn I believe), yellow is a happy color for me but most blues make me look sickly. A few shades of green blue and slate blue play nicely, but I envy you your true blues!

  7. Maybe a midnight blue,or navy but have never worn any other blue.
    I do not like the colour,prefer the Autumn hues as it suits my red hair/colouring best.
    Over here lots of my colours to choose from so will leave the blues to you gels. Ida

  8. I adore blue very flattering, especially navy which I prefer to black. I don’t go with the old theory “that blue and green should never be seen without a colour in between” I think these two colours go well together.

  9. I’ve been blue-averse for most of my adult life. Partly out of contrariness, because blue was always the Good Girl Default Color. (Or at least, that’s my association.) But I’m learning that blue can be just a tad subversive too. Bright periwinkle, just a bit irreverent. Navy paired with something leopard. I’d wear that peacock gown in my fantasy life. But maybe with some studded leather bracelets…

  10. I like a certain blue in denim jeans. That´s about it.
    There isn´t anything wrong with the dresses shown, only they don´t touch me in any way.

  11. “Menopause blue” – that’s what my mother called navy. To her mind, navy blue was for men’s suits, men’s blazers, and oriental rugs, period. Since I grew up at her knee, it is to this day that I grapple with the whole range of blue showing up outside her clear instructions. But, LPC, all the blues are divine on you, blues are certainly especially meant for you! And that first dress at the head of the line, GET IT!

  12. Loving the Monique Lhullier lace dress. It wouldn’t work on my body type for a million reasons, but it is a thing of beauty.

  13. I really don’t like straight up on the color wheel royal blues on myself, and (despite having northern European white skin — it’s apparently not the WASP-ish kind) I look pretty sickly in most pale blues, lavender-ish colors, pale bluepurple. They bring out the blue in my skin and make me look like a zombie. But I like warm blues — a good navy, peacock that’s not too green, Moroccan blues, etc. And fuschia is my “power color”.

  14. Blue is one of my favorites. Cornflower, Navy, Peacock – they’re much fresher than black or those hard neons we’ve had before.

    It’s just in time too. I’ve got a couple of different pairs of blue shoes that I haven’t been able to replace/update because the offerings have been so non-existant.

  15. I wish that peacock dress was knee-length. Actually, scratch that. If it were knee length I’d just have to sigh wistuflly about the fact that I’m in love with something way to expensive to consider.

  16. Lisa, blue is absolutely your colour! I always think it suits you particularly well when you wear ir.

    I was quite surprised when a few people said they don’t suit navy and deeper, darker blues. I would have said it’s the one variant of blue that would suit everyone, in one form or another.

    Variants of navy and midnight blues seem to have a quality that make the skin look clear, brighter too, no matter the skin tone. Perhaps something a little brighter and purer for the deepest skitones though, something like ultramarine or International Klein Blue. I won’t include prussian blue for anyone, because I think it is slightly too dusty to have the brightening effect to the same extent.

    Really, I have seen these types of blues on so many skintones on people from so many different racial origins, that I think anyone scared of blues should start out at the deeper end of the spectrum, less potential for disaster in my opinion.

    Apparently Dior once said that navy was summer black, which absolutely makes sense! (Well, according to a makeup collection they released last year called Blue Tie.)

    Oh wow, a whole essay on blue! I didn’t think I could write that much on it!

  17. I have always loved blue. I think part of it had to do with my mother always dressed me in blue because I was the only one in the family with blue eyes. I’ve always loved blues in my home. Last house I had a blue and white kitchen which I loved.

  18. Until recently, I have been very navy blue adverse. All other blues, I have always loved, but not navy. Now I find myself wishing for navy in my wardrobe. I keep craving nautical looks for some reason. What does that mean?

  19. I can occasionally not look grayish-green-zombie in a warm and bright bluish teal. I have warm light peachy skin, hazel olive eyes, hair silvering from darkest brown. How I love soft baby blue, bright cobalt, even navy – but they are poison on me. Yellows, greens, corals, those are my friends.
    My husband with rosy skin, blue eyes and light brown hair can wear any shade of blue or purple and looks like they were created or born on him.

  20. I do hanker after blue very much! You would look so lovely in the cornflower, Lisa. I would have thought there was a shade of blue for everyone, but after reading the above posts, now know otherwise. Navy is wonderful, and I especially like periwinkle in my home. Pink is definitely my red, makes me feel alive and very happy!

  21. Lovely dresses, very flattering cuts. I have to be wary of blue, near the face it actually cancels out my light green eyes (I wish green ever came in that variety of shades!). A certain smoky dark blue is ok but already a bit stark for my light colouring. So, as a skirt, yes, but then I may just use my money for something else next spring. Which is not a bad idea …

  22. That peacock dress is divine – if I only I had the budget and a place to where it! Love blue – such a gorgeous color to wear. I have a lot of itin my wardrobe (UK grad). :)

  23. I love these dresses. My baby brother has just gotten engaged to the perfect future sister-in-law (engaged! ENGAGED!) and I’m starting to reconnoiter store websites for the perfect outfit. The Tory Burch looks very appealing and perfect for a small, intimate summer church wedding, which this will be.

    I love navy, now more than ever, since my hair and coloring are now pretty much those of Julianne Moore and go well with any cool, jewel-like tones (although I find myself wearing green more and more). But Schiaparelli pink–well, when I was a sweet young brown-haired Anglo-Irish rose, people used to tell me how lovely I looked in a dress I had in that color. Now, I think it would probably clash with my red, red hair. And while it looks stunning on the model and would look great on anyone with darker skin tones or even with fair skin and (youthfully) dark hair, I daresay it might wash a lot of us middle-age-to-older folks out.

  24. I also meant to add: the Tadashi Shoji is spectacular, and, Lisa, you would look spectacular in it. Sadly, I think it is meant for tall, slender, willowy types, which I am not.

  25. Oh my, I love these dresses! The peacock and the lace especially although they are appropriate only for the hidden me of my fantasy life.

    Culturally I love blues, and navy especially. But neither true navy or true cool blues suite my coloring all that well. Yes there are many blues I wear, but as a soft summer rather than a true summer I find I do better with the borderlands of the blue spectrum.

  26. Your remark that Schiap pink is blue’s cousin made me smile. That observation is itself the kissing cousin to Diana Vreeland’s remark, “Pink is the navy blue of India.”

  27. I believe it was Ines Fressange who said everyone should have a navy blue sweater. Personally I think navy looks like it’s not trying as hard as black to look chic.

    That lace number is to die!

    Speaking of navy have you tried the Nars Schiap lipstick? It’s that gorgeous Pink that Maryn quoted. Do you dare wear it?

  28. When I was growing up, my mother had a navy lace sheath that she wore for Very Fancy Occasions. She looked gorgeous in my 8 year old eyes. After 20+ years of service in the Air Force, I confess to a oh-my-gosh-spare-me relationship with the blues. Much to my chagrin, I’ve found I look pretty okay in blue, particularly the royal blues. I have a few friends with silver and white hair who look spectacular in deep blue when black just drains them out.

  29. Lisa! That belt on the Tory Burch dress reminds me exactly of your old favorite TSE sweater!

    Don’t tell me you don’t see it.
    It’s a sign.

  30. The best thing about these dresses (except for the pink one) is that they are all knee length or lower.
    I just can’t take another year of dresses that are 3 inches or more about knee length.

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