Fashion notes: Greys aren’t just suited to rainy days
I’ll refrain from inserting a 50 Shades of Grey pun here, and instead will ask: why is it that we associate greys with rainy days? Grey is actually a great go-to shade for any season – it isn’t as colourless as black or as clichéd as white. It makes for powerful work wear and exudes an attitude that somehow speaks “don’t mess with me” and “I’m approachable” at the same time.
In his 1954 book The Little Dictionary of Fashion, Christian Dior wrote: “Almost anything goes with grey.” But after seeing next season’s autumn/winter collections, my favourite colour to wear with grey has officially become… more grey. Monotone dressing, especially in all-grey, was an unexpectedly impactful trend on the runways last month, with J.Crew, Proenza Schouler, Isabel Marant and Stella McCartney taking the lead setting the grey-on-grey tone.
At the J.Crew presentation in New York, models stunned in shades of grey when the most basic of pairings – palazzos and a turtleneck, and an embellished polo with a pleated maxi – made waves across the style circuit.
Proenza Schouler’s girls tromped down the runway clad in covetable grey tweed knits and grey fur stoles; models at Max Mara were chicly bundled in grey quilted coats and cable sweaters worn on top of pencil skirts and jersey tops in the same shade. At Milly, a head-to-toe grey look featured a loosely draped midi skirt and poncho-style top, with pops of fuchsia lining. Prabal Gurung paired a sleek grey pleated skirt with a more androgynous turtleneck top and fur jacket in darker greys. Even Mulberry included an all-grey outfit, comprising a slightly flared skirt and sweater set in tonal wool textures.
Take away the furs, the knits and the heaps of layers, and the trend is easily attainable for spring, too. To start with, take any grey tee and look for a strong accompaniment, be it a pleated skirt in silk, tapered cotton trousers or ultra-wide palazzos. For a feminine feel, stick to soft, light shades, perhaps with floral prints or jewelled flourishes. At Balenciaga’s autumn/winter show, one dress was made from a lead-coloured beaded top, with a silver pencil skirt, slightly gathered at the waist and decorated with an embellished floral motif – fit for a woman who likes to portray an air of grace, but with a strong presence. Other grey dresses in the collection combined tweeds with ornate textures and leather accents.
Giorgio Armani’s autumn/winter inspiration can also be worked into a spring/summer wardrobe, particularly in terms of his palette: greys and silvers were mixed with soft sky blues, in silhouettes that, although clearly suit-inspired, were far from overtly masculine.
Allow for colour in your accessories for a refreshing uplift, and think out-of-the box and away from the typical navies, khakis and hunter greens that are too often paired with greys. Citrus shades of lemon yellow and tangerine will give the outfit a playful summertime kick, and pastels such as mint, peach and periwinkle will create a look that’s less in-your-face, but still remain effervescent. Though pearls and tassels are traditional and certainly on-trend, dive further into the realm of fashion forward with geometric, metallic and cheap-but-chic PVC elements to give your grey-on-grey ensemble a glamorous glimmer. So, who was saying that greys are glum?
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