Lisa Lennkh on why you should find your shade of the colour of love and desire
Of course, the Little Black Dress has its place in every wardrobe, but I think there is an excellent case to be made for having a Little Red Dress as well. Just as I know there is a red lipstick shade for every woman, I believe there is a red dress for every woman. Either a clear "universal" red shade that works on everyone, or one that leans towards warm or cool, depending on your skin tone. I always choose a warmer shade of red because a rich blue-red makes me look tired and drained.
Red has always been the colour of fashion. It has impact. Even the simplest item in a show-stopping colour of red makes a style statement. Red is an extreme colour. It demands our attention. Physically, it stimulates faster breathing and quickens the heartbeat, which is why it has always been associated with love and passion. In nature, it symbolises danger. Like all animals, we are programmed to pay extra attention to red; stop signs are red for a reason.
The designer Valentino has built his whole brand around the colour. He's used it as his signature hue since his very first fashion show in the early 1960s. His designs are clean and simple. Reds get noticed, but in an elegant way. Another oracle of style and fellow lover of red is Diana Vreeland who once had this to say: “Red is the great clarifier—bright, cleansing, revealing. It makes all colours beautiful. I can’t imagine being bored with it—it would be like becoming tired of the person you love.” She also said, “All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red. I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, ‘I want Rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple’—they have no idea what I’m talking about. The best red is to copy the colour of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait.”
I know exactly what colour of red she means. The Italian Renaissance painters perfected those deep, rich, intense, absolutely perfect reds which I'm forever searching for in a lipstick and in clothing.
While I think a head to toe red look is fantastic, it isn't easy for everyone to wear. I also enjoy the colour pop that just a touch of red adds to an outfit. It pairs beautifully with every neutral colour. All denim with a red handbag, a grey or camel dress with a red shoe, or a black suit enlivened by a red scarf, for example.
Red is truly a colour for all seasons; it looks just as appropriate in summer as it does at Christmas. I've always found my red purchases to be excellent year-round investments, which is why I wear it so much.
As style icon Audrey Hepburn correctly pointed out, “There is a shade of red for every woman.” If you haven’t found yours yet, maybe this Valentine month is the right time to investigate.
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