Back in January, I had posted a list of It’s All Style To Me Essentials for Spring/Summer 2011. Subsequent Men’s SS11 trend posts have gone over the Belted Trench Coat, Braided and Roped Belts, the Über Statement Sports Coat, and The White Suit. While contemplating the popularity of men’s coloured trousers and the widespread use of bright blues throughout the SS11 collections, it dawned upon me that these trends were part of a bigger picture.
Making its début in womenswear, the colour-blocking trend’s prevalence can be traced back to Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s. Some credit a retrospective of the designer’s work in Paris last year as the source of a revival, but I would argue that this may not necessarily be the case. Colour-blocking has been making a strong comeback ever since the SS09 Collections of Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Dries Van Noten, and Salvatore Ferragamo.
The momentum has been building ever since and colour-blocking is now a fashion mainstay of women’s SS11 and even FW11 ready-to-wear. Defined as combining the use of two or more solid blocks of colour, one creates an ensemble incorporating warm, cool, or complimentary colours in a mix of bright or muted tones. Not limited to clothing, colour-blocking has found its way in women’s cosmetics, accessories, jewellery, and footwear as well. It may look cheerful and pretty, even blinding, but there is method to the madness. Colour-blocking enables designers and stylists to strategically place darker colours in areas of the figure they want to downplay (waist, hips) and brighter colours in areas they want to accentuate (chest, legs).
Colour-blocking has permeated menswear as well. A mix of vibrant colours and pastels are showing up in everything from men’s trousers and shorts, to sports coats, socks, ties, belts, bags, boat shoes and loafers (see photo above) this spring/summer. The design and styling of the Men’s SS11 Collections of Calvin Klein, Jil Sander, Moncler Gamme Bleu, Prada, DSquared2, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gucci are a great example of this.
Pairing dramatic colours together may prove challenging for us guys, so here is a brief Lesson in Men’s Blockology to help you out:
Colour Range Approach: The simplest colour-blocking approach is selecting your colour mix from one of two colour ranges. Choose from either a warm (red, orange, yellow) or cool (green, blue, violet) palette when pulling together an outfit. Throwing in some whites, blacks, and greys will work well with either range.
Complimentary/Contrasting Colour Approach: Complimentary colours (opposites on the colour wheel) always go well with each other giving a harmonious look to your outfit. Red and green, yellow and violet, blue and orange, are the three simple pairs of complementary colours that will always work. Try pairing yellows with blues or yellows with violets/fuchsias for a cool look as well.
Hopefully this is enough information to get you started. Please visit the It’s All Style To Me Facebook Page to get some of the SS11 runway examples. Feel free to leave comments or questions at the bottom of this post. Have fun with it!