While there's no arguing that color-block ensembles are here to stay and that the season's pretty sherbet hues are a welcome palette cleanser, let us assure you those aren't the only must-try color trends at their tipping point this spring! In addition to mixing multiple hues, designers and celebrities are embracing monochromatic looks, creating interesting outfits with just one color or varied versions of a single shade, and the results are equally noteworthy. From Zoe Saldana's minimalist blend of grays to the intermingle of green at Elie Saab, we're crazy about this fresh take on color, and thus, are celebrating it in today's Trend Report!
We spotted many notable interpretations of the monochromatic trend on the S/S 12 runways, but there was something about Adam's pink-on-pink ensemble that spoke to us right away. We love the way designer Adam Lippes used the single hue to play with spring's dueling color palettes, expertly teaming the neon pink shade of his sheer lace top with pastel cuffed trousers for a visually-intriguing result. We also enjoyed the monochromatic outfits displayed in rainbow sequence at the Elie Saab S/S 12 show, and not surprisingly, were green with envy at the sight of the Oz-worthy ensemble shown above. Saab's use of the same emerald green color throughout the entire look (which is not sold in the US, unfortunately) gives the outfit a striking presence, yet the mix of textures keep it from feeling one note.
Lest you think this color-coding only works on the runways, we rounded up a quintet of style-minded ladies that prove otherwise! One of the things we love about this look is how it works with practically every color imaginable; however, opting for a bright hue a la Liya Kebede guarantees a bold statement. The model/actress went for a show-stopping look at the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Awards late last year when she wore Cushnie et Ochs' Poplin Blazer ($1295, 212.872.2700), Viscose Blouse ($995, 212.872.2700), and Poplin Skirt (212.872.2700), all in Rio Yellow, and finished with patent leather yellow Giuseppe Zanotti ankle-strap heels. While multiple layers of this canary hue feel more playful than professional, the clean lines and refined silhouettes give the outfit a sophisticated look. Equally vibrant, albeit with a more casual vibe, was the fantastic outfit Resin Denim founder Chantel Valentene assembled for New York Fashion Week this past September. Red was the key color for this fashion insider, who paired Equipment's Diem Blouse ($184) with Resin jeans from the S/S 11 collection. We applaud Valentene's decision to opt for a darker shade of red on the bottom, as the subtle contrast allows the separates to stand out on their own.
While adventurous dressers will surely gravitate toward brighter interpretations of monochromatic dressing, it's important to note that neutral versions of this one-color look leave an equally memorable impression. Take, for example, the outfit Zoe Saldana wore to New York Fashion Week in September. The actress' minimalist mix of cool gray hues-a Michael Kors ombre tank dress and clutch from the F/W 11 collection, and Lanvin heels-made for one simple and chic look. We're also partial to the way in which model Hilary Rhoda deftly blended multiple shades of off-white for the New Yorkers For Children luncheon back in October. The brunette beauty selected pieces from St. John's F/W 11 collection, including a double-breasted coat, v-neck sweater, and trousers, creating a sophisticated and feminine look perfect for the afternoon event. And last, but certainly not least, Gwyneth Paltrow deserves high praise for her all-noir look. The perennially stylish actress created a pitch-perfect menswear-inspired outfit to celebrate the opening of Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs: The Exhibition during Paris Fashion Week earlier this month, with a black tuxedo-style blazer and cropped pants from Louis Vuitton's Pre-Fall 12 collection. Perhaps the most accessible way to address today's look, a black-on-black ensemble is always on-trend and unquestionably chic.
If there's anything we've learned from this Trend Report it's that the possibilities are really endless when it comes to creating your own monochromatic ensemble. Naturally, we have our own suggestions, especially for those looking to recreate today's featured outfits! First up, the runways! Right now we're all about the color pink, and think Forever 21's Long Sleeve Lace Top ($12) in Hot Pink paired with Zara's Slim Pop Fabric Trousers ($80) offers a cool combo similar to Adam's version. You could also swap the neon top for one in pastel pink, like 3.1 Phillip Lim's Racer Back Tank ($225), if you're partial to spring's softer color palette. To emulate Elie Saab's green mix, be sure to pick up American Apparel's Chiffon Secretary Blouse ($60) in Blarney, Catherine Malandrino's Pleated Skirt ($265), and See by Chloe's Tweet Snap-Button Jacket ($595). Fancy Kebede's sunny layers instead? You might want to consider Rag & Bone's Tuxedo Blazer ($325) and New 88 Shirt ($255), which both come in the same lemon yellow color and would look lovely teamed with BCBGMAXAZRIA's Bonita Pleated Chiffon Skirt ($178).
Are layers of one bright color a bit much for you? Good news: we have a handful of neutral options as well! Though Saldana's gray Michael Kors dress is no longer available, we think T by Alexander Wang's Cami Tank ($87) tucked into Express' High-Waist Belted Tweed Pencil Skirt ($70) makes for a spot-on alternative. Just be sure to add Marc Jacobs' Paradise Eugenie Fold Over Clutch ($495) to further achieve Saldana's sleek look. For a crisp, all-white ensemble a la Rhoda, grab J. Crew's Linen V-Neck Cable-Knit Sweater ($69.50) and Elie Tahari Crop Leg Pants ($128), and then finish with Paul & Joe Sister's Edgar Hemp and Cotton-Blend Coat ($245). Finally, to mimic Paltrow's simply chic styling, snag Theory's Gabe B Blazer ($395) and Marc by Marc Jacobs' Orcha Black Washed Ankle Pants ($113). Whatever look you choose to emulate this season, the key to monochromatic dressing is to pick a color you're comfortable with and select separates with uncomplicated silhouettes; the result will be a winner every time!-Jessica Baker
Photos of Gwyneth Paltrow, Chantel Valentene, and Zoe Saldana, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Liya Kebede, courtesy of INF; Photo of Hilary Rhoda, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Elie Saab runway photo, courtesy of Elie Saab; Adam runway photo, courtesy of First View.