Despite the usual spring penchant for florals and the trend of the moment- mixing clashing floral prints- an opposing concept is flourishing alongside. Colour-blocking dominated the runways of countless designers such as Marc Jacobs, Dior and Lanvin for S/S2009 and the High Street has finally caught up with an array of coloured jeans and bold dresses.
The rules are pretty simple- stick to 2 or 3 bright colours for the whole outfit, if the outfit is bold then try neutral shoes to anchor the look, and the choice of colour combination is crucial. Forget the laws of clashing colours- here you want a strong contrast- red, orange, pink and purple can all finally be friends. The best combinations are pleasantly jarring, such as lime or pea green with rose pink, or pink with pale blue and orange. If you’re not quite brave enough the trend still works well with one bright piece worn with neutrals- a grey top and yellow shirt for example. Accessories should be kept simple and any prints should be kept in your drawer.
For those of us who live on a modest budget, this trend is a godsend. The quality of prints are so often reflective of the price you pay, whereas the high street has never been afraid to use rich vibrant colours that will work perfectly. Topshop have a fantastic range of brightly coloured jeans and skirts (a tangerine belted paper-bag waist skirt is particularly fabulous), which would work well as a piece to invest in as the basis of your colour-blocking outfit. After that simply have fun experimenting with pieces already in your wardrobe.
In my humble opinion, the key to this trend is not a combination of colour, but a combination of textures and materials. If you stick to opaque block colours in all the same fabric, you may end up looking like a paint-by-numbers. By mixing coloured denim with a floaty blouse, velvet with silk and a layered linen blazer, you can create a sense of opulence and depth to the look. Pleats and even contrasting fits can add interest to the outfit- such as a tight pencil skirt with a loose blouse or oversize jumper.
Herein lies the weakness of the trend: it runs the risk of being exceptionally dull. Without the budget for luxury fabrics you may end up wearing coloured jeans and a coloured t-shirt. Pretty uninspiring. The trend can also work against larger frame, without patterns to help disguise problem areas things could get rather unflattering.
Colour blocking is much more than plain components put together; it’s about creating a ‘wow’ factor with colour combinations. Otherwise you are simply slapping spring in the face by ignoring the delicious array of floral prints on the high street. The trends you follow should always be based on what looks good on you, not the runway, and this trend can so easily err on the side of dull I’m staying true to my spring staples.