Over the course of a calendar year, fashion's typical palette progresses along a linear color gradient. If you stepped back and surveyed the whole thing, it would have an ombre-like look, with light and white hues in spring shifting into darker, earthier tones come fall. But quite the opposite is happening this season, as spring's playful neons are getting diluted and turning into warm pastels for late summer and early fall. Whether it's sky blue, butter yellow, or baby pink, these lovely shades are popping up everywhere and on everything from tailored trousers to ladylike dresses. And as evidenced by such stylish ladies as Diane Kruger and Solange Knowles, the result is decidedly fresh, hence the reason we're spotlighting this new color scheme in today's Trend Report!
While intensely bright colors were everything for spring, these electric hues are softening for autumn, as an abundance of pastels were used in pre-fall and F/W 11 collections. We first took notice of this au courant color palette at the Celine Pre-Fall 11 show, which featured a sea of luxurious jewel tones and winter fabrics, as well as the simple and sleek color-block ensemble shown above. Designer Phoebe Philo combined the Pink Wool Graine de Poudre Trousers ($740, select Neiman Marcus stores) with the Cotton Poplin and Chambray Denim Shirt ($680, select Neiman Marcus stores) and white kitten heels paired with black socks. The soft, delicate hues mixed with the black accents makes for an excellent between-seasons look. While Philo limited herself to just one pastel look, we noted an array of similar shades at the Nina Ricci F/W 11 show. Designer Peter Copping's feminine, powder blue ensembles--specifically the Stretch Wool Dress ($2190, 312.587.1000) and Stretch Wool Jacket ($1635, 312.587.1000) and Skirt ($1150, 312.587.1000)--were among the collection's most standout pieces, offering a more romantic approach to the prim pastel look.
Like all notable trends, this one isn't just making a splash on the runways! Over the last few months we've noticed a handful of fashion-forward ladies wearing these innocent hues in equally memorable ways. In the model world, both Edie Campbell and Sara Blomqvist opted for intriguing pastel-and-neutral combos. Campbell arrived at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Party in London last month wearing a Jonathan Saunders dress and belt from the S/S 11 collection with an Anya Hindmarch clutch and Church's oxfords. Thanks to the frock's streamlined silhouette and understated beige hue, the subtle sky-blue detailing adds a fresh pop of color to the whole look. At the same event, Blomqvist selected a Jonathan Saunders pastel pleated skirt (also from S/S 11), which she styled with a black button-down shirt and Chanel chain-strap bag. The pastel skirt is the standout item, and we love how Blomqvist keep it center stage by wearing it with basic noir pieces.
While pastel accents are one intriguing way to incorporate this transitional trend into your daily rotation, we're also quite fond of a bolder pastel look via a stylish suit a la Solange Knowles. The singer caught our eye in New York a few months ago at a launch party for the new Monoi Repairing Collection by beauty brand Carol's Daughter when she arrived in a yellow menswear-inspired suit. Not only do we love the sunny hue of her Mango Suit Jacket ($130) and Trousers ($80), but we're also quite taken with the relaxed, '70s-vibe of the silk separates, which feels so right for summer. Additionally, we very much enjoy a truly prim pastel look, like the flawlessly executed outfit Diane Kruger picked for the premiere of Pieds Nus Sur Des Limaces in Germany a few months ago. Kruger looked ravishing in a pink lace dress from No. 21's F/W 11 collection, and we were particularly pleased by the way she teamed the ladylike frock with a pair of turquoise Brian Atwood pumps for a lovely between-seasons ensemble.
Though we're still in the midst of summer, it never hurts to be one step ahead and fully prepared for the subsequent season. That said, to help you begin prepping your fall wardrobes, we've rounded up some fantastic pastel pieces, which also happen to be smart picks for the warmer months too! When it comes to perfect pastel frocks, we love Topshop's Violet Sweetheart Lace Bodycon Dress ($80) and Marni's Strapless Pleated Boucle Dress ($534). While the former is an excellent option for a girls' night out, the latter will certainly appeal to those seeking a more conservative silhouette. We're also crazy about Donna Morgan's Cotton Eyelet Shift Dress ($118) in Yellow and Calvin Klein's Stretch Chambray Tie Waist Dress ($89) in Mint, which are both A+ options for daytime events. If you were crazy about Edie Campbell's pastels-and-neutrals mix, we think you'd also enjoy ASOS' Color Block Knitted Dress ($69), which shares a similar sky-blue detailing, but also brings in a bit of this season's neon trend with pops of bright orange. Also on our list is TBA's Sheer Shoulder Insert Silk Dress ($267), which has a Nina Ricci-inspired look.
In addition to pastel dresses, we spotted a number of pretty awesome pastel pants and a skirt too! For example, J Brand's Ankle Skinny Jeans ($176) in Pretty Pink are an excellent slim option, while ASOS' Palazzo Pants ($31) in Terracotta and Blue are pretty stellar wide-leg picks. If you're looking for an additional fitted pant, you must check out J. Crew's Oxford Scout Chino ($40), which comes in three lovely pastel shades including our favorites, orchid blue and butter. Finally, we recommend picking up American Apparel's Chiffon Full Length Skirt ($46) in Lagoon; it's quite darling and will surely get a ton of wear this year.--Jessica Baker
Photo of Edie Campbell, courtesy of Splash; Photos of Sara Blomqvist and Diane Kruger, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Solange Knowles, courtesy of Wenn; Nina Ricci backstage image and Celine Pre-Fall 11 image, courtesy of First View