Sweet and innocent? Or powerful and punchy? It’s often seen as the ‘girliest’ of all the colours, but few colours have as much emotional or cultural resonance as pink. Perhaps thats why the latest exhibition at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is dedicated to the colour. The exhibition, which coincides with the release of Valerie Steele’s book of the same title, explores the significance and symbolism of pink and includes everything from a 60s Dior cocktail dress to a Schiaparelli gown in her signature shade of pink.
As gender issues become increasingly pertinent in our current climate, the idea of a pink as an innately ‘feminine’ colour has never been more contentious. But as this exhibit reveals, look back to 18th century India and a man wearing a pink suit wouldn’t have even raised an eyebrow. The idea of ‘pink-for-a-girl’ was turned on its head at the Women’s March in 2017 when the pink knitted ‘Pussyhat’ was created in response to Trump’s now infamous words. By creating the hat in a saccharine shade of candy pink, it became a symbol of solidarity for women the world over. Pink was even termed THE colour of the millennial generation after Pantone named Rose Quartz as 2016’s joint Colour of the Year. That dusky rose hue has dominated fashion, interiors, beauty and everything in between ever since.
Whether an ironic comment on pre-conceived ideas of femininity or simply a pleasing shade that conjures images of roses and candy floss, this exhibition proves the power of pink.
‘Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Colour’ is at The Museum at FIT, New York from 7 September 2019 to 5 January 2019.