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A model walks the runway during the Valentino show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017 on October 2, 2016 in Paris, France. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
A model walks the runway during the Valentino show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017 on October 2, 2016 in Paris, France. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Thoughts on the power of pink Add to ...

There is perhaps no other colour more loaded with meaning. And as Caitlin Agnew reports, a new generation is adding its own spin to the hue

If you’ve noticed the world looking rosier than usual, you’re not alone. Pink, ranging from muddy salmon to a crisp rose quartz, has taken over as the shade of choice for marketers looking to grab the attention of a generation of consumers. Sometimes called “millennial pink” to describe its popularity among that cohort, it’s recently appeared prominently in packaging and imagery for brands such as Glossier (the crowd-sourced cosmetics company started by Into the Gloss beauty blog founder Emily Weiss) and the Swedish ready-to-wear brand Acne (last November, the brand’s founder, Jonny Johansson, told GQ that he chose the hue of the label’s shopping bags "because people considered pink being ugly”).

The shade made a cameo in virtually every big spring 2017 runway presentation, including Céline, Prada, Valentino, Sies Marjan, Molly Goddard, Givenchy and Gucci, where it appeared in both the collection and on the catwalk carpeting. It’s been tapped to breathe new life into lifestyle products such as Raden luggage and Le Creuset Dutch ovens, and contributed to the meme-worthy aesthetic of Drake’s 2016 single Hotline Bling. In the restaurant world, Toronto’s Oretta and Piano Piano both boast selfie-ready pink walls, while Alfred’s Tea Room in Los Angeles, at just 450 square feet, is a tiny temple to the tone.

“Alfred’s instantly became a highly Instagrammed hot spot that is probably more known for its affinity for all things pink than the menu itself,” says Paige Boersma, founder of Studio Bicyclette, a Toronto-based fashion boutique turned creative studio that helps businesses tell their brand story through visuals. Boersma’s own rosy brand identity has garnered 21,000 followers for her Instagram feed, which is a mix of pretty floral arrangements, cozy sweaters and girlish interiors, all washed in a soothing pink haze.

“Initially, it wasn’t a conscious choice for pink to play such a strong role in the Bicyclette brand aesthetic, but I’ve always loved the colour, from my early days playing dress up to my tendency towards a bright pink lip,” says the 31-year-old. “For me, it’s always been attached to a sense of childhood nostalgia, and I think because it’s a colour that we hadn't seen used as much in branding until more recently – save for a few classic staples such as the Barbie or Mary Kay brands – it also has a novelty and newness attached to it.”

It’s this novelty that has helped the shade find new fans, including grown men and women who don’t identify with pink’s traditional feminine and juvenile connotations. According to Boersma, it’s the subtleties of pink that deliver its powerful marketing potential. “I love how a shade of blush can act as a neutral in a more muted palette, or how a bright pastel pink has a retro vibe that demands attention.”


  • American design house Knoll is launching four new residential pieces to coincide with Michigan-born designer Florence Knoll’s 100th birthday this year. The playful stacking tables, lounge seating, dining tables and desks were all inspired by items in the company’s archives. For more information, visit www.knoll.com.
  • In its first ever partnership with a Canadian charity, J.Crew has created a limited-edition collection for the Royal Ontario Museum’s exhibition, Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story, opening on Mar. 11 in Toronto. Half of the retail price of the men’s, women’s and kids’ T-shirts, totes and bandanas will be donated to the ROM’s Blue Whale Project, raising funds for whale research and conservation. For more information, visit www.jcrew.com.
  • Toronto-based designer and Project Runway Canada winner Evan Biddell is working with Eco Fashion Week and Value Village on a new upcycled collection, VV by EB. As an extension of The 81lb Challenge, which asks consumers and businesses to find sustainable solutions to textile waste, this collection will debut Mar. 11 at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week. For more information, visit www.evanbiddell.com.


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