Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation
Purple may be the most feted choice in a Quality Street box but when it comes to sartorial matters it’s not usually met with quite the same enthusiasm. In a world where black is the new black more often than not, the sheer exoticness and vividness of purple can scare off refined and sensible dressers. Garish is the word they fear.
It hasn’t always been this way of course, go back a couple of hundred years and everyone was falling all over themselves to wear the shade known as ‘Tyrian purple’, which took its hue from the dye of a rare mollusc, and was affordable only to the very rich and glamorous.
Christopher Kane A/W 12
Purple has remained the colour of royalty ever since – at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation she wore deep mauve robes, but that, as we were all reminded this year, was sixty years ago and you’re more likely to see a young Royal in DSquared2
than ceremonial attire so the cachet has receded immensely.
Comme des Garçons A/W 12
So there was something nice about the way purple made a comeback this season - featured liberally on many a catwalk but not in the all-encompassing way of say, maroon or burgundy. Violet, lilac and aubergine were incorporated into collections without fuss or fanfare, in the same way as camel or navy blue.
under-laid gothic black florals with rich violet for an aesthetic of dark grandeur, beautifully fitting for Winter nights. And whilst Rei Kawakubo continued her on-going experimentation with proportion and beauty ideals, the soft candy shades she employed at Comme des Garçons
, particularly a sweet, dusty purple, couldn’t help but add a certain prettiness to over-sized suits. Most demonstrable in how to wear the royal colour was Roksanda Ilincic
, who gave a flawless lesson in purple for the working woman via an elegant shift dress that successfully toed the line between professional and directional.
Roksanda Ilincic A/W 12
See, so it’s not such a scary trend after all! And if you needed anymore encouragement to invest this season remember that purple is the chosen colour of this man…
Purple Rain era Prince
The perfect reminder that standing out, throwing caution to the wind and dressing with confidence can have quite the pleasing effect…