x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Fashion Talk: Make pale interesting

Nude colours are a crucial look and ideal for the summer, but it turns out there is an art to carrying them off.

Am I the only person who has been having a hard time making the pale-and-interesting nude colour palette currently in vogue look, er, interesting? It's a crucial look and ideal for the summer, but it turns out there is an art to carrying off nudes and that is to punch up the look with some serious colour accents, whether as accessories or cosmetics. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that magazines are advocating strong make-up as one solution to this spring of no colour and utilitarian shapes.

Tom Ford has handily come up with an expertly blended lipstick range to counteract the buff palette. Is there nothing this man can't do? As so often, Ford has drawn inspiration from the decade he loves to reference - the glamorous 1970s; or at least what the iconic jet-setters wore at that time. Ford's exotic apricot and fuchsia shades are evocative of the lippy one imagines Jackie Onassis wore aboard her husband's sprawling 325-foot yacht.

With glamorous holidays in mind, Chanel's resident beauty genius, Peter Philips, the man who created Jade Le Vernis nail varnish, has come up with something equally punchy and fun. Called Les Pop-Up (de Chanel), these include coral and neon pink lipsticks and a verdigris nail colour (Nouvelle Vague) that are destined to become summer must-haves. Never mind pop-up: these colours are guaranteed to bounce off beige and tan.

Alternatively, you can mimic the tangerine lipstick that the make-up artist Pat McGrath used at the Prada show, which is now mirrored in those Prada eyewear adverts. According to Allure magazine, this is a blend of Cover Girl's Coy Coral, Laura Mercier's Truly Red and Make Up For Ever's Fluorescent Orange. Meanwhile, the newly launched Topshop make-up line proposes two shades of bright blue nail varnish for the upcoming festival season. It will be interesting to see what Kate Moss and Alexa Chung wear to Glasto now that "festival chic" (a look they inspired) has gone mainstream. Perhaps Balmain's sequinned mini dress and the limited edition rock 'n' roll studded wellies Hunter have just launched? You certainly wouldn't want to see Celine's buttery leather jackets splattered with mud.

Or will they embrace yellow, the only standout colour (besides beige) on the spring/summer 2010 catwalks? Apart from a few fashion chains - in particular, Next - this has failed to catch on despite being a genuine way to liven up wishy-washy shades, especially here, where the sun shines so brightly. But yellow has been experimented with in various hues on beautiful models since February and I think I know why: it has a strange effect on certain skin tones. You have to be brave, tanned or olive-skinned to even contemplate wearing it with any conviction.

Although designers like Christopher Kane, Louise Goldin and Anna Molinari for Blumarine have provided a great case for doing just this - particularly in candyfloss hues in the case of Kane - when it comes to wearing yellow top-to-toe you have got to be (and will certainly look like) bananas. There is one final and brilliant solution to both pulling off neutrals and avoiding them: print. Not florals, although these are a popular alternative, but animal print.

Yellow is very much the backdrop for sizzling summer animal prints, from Alexander McQueen's scary reptilian dresses to that unmistakable Proenza Schouler brighter-than-bright lizard. Nothing jazzes up shades of nothingness like leopard, ocelot, snake or lizard either in a natural colour or canary yellow - and pink is another option, as Mulberry's fuchsia Alexa bags testify; the brighter the better.

Animal print is tipped to be huge next season, though anyone from Tom Ford to Roberto Cavalli will tell you that it never strays too far from fashion. As for now, why not join in with the eye-popping make-up trends: hot orange glossy lipstick? Now that's what I call interesting.