<Review by: Amit Divekar, a fashion designer and uber stylish guy with an eye for what’s right and what’s fright!>
Red is certainly one of my favourite colours. But my penchant aside, I think just by itself red is an extremely interesting, intriguing and important colour. With myriad different connotations, not to mention shades, it is quite an enigma.
I think the prime quality of this primary colour is that it is the most striking of all colours. At a glance, among a bunch of colours, the human eye spots the colour red first. It’s bright, bold and captivating. Red is also known to be a very friendly colour. Say one has to pick a pawn in a board game, a majority of people are likely to pick a red pawn over any other. There is a certain familiarity, a level of comfort that people associate with red. Of course, it has to do with the fact that red is a warm colour and therefore it makes people feel exactly that… warmth.
What I love most about red is that, it is an incredibly balanced colour. It always stands out, but not in a gaudy or loud manner. Orange for instance also stands out, but very jarringly so. Red on the other hand possesses an innate vibrancy without being ‘in your face’. It is subtly attractive. Dazzling yet understated, it manages the right balance of intensity and calmness. Red is love, red is also the devil. Call it paradox or perfect equilibrium the choice is yours. Red doesn’t demand attention it commands attention.
Red is a very powerful and prominent colour across the board, be it different cultures, religions, art, literature, medicine, therapy, fashion or folklore. It could be the red tika (bindi) on the forehead in India for good luck, or the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood. The auspicious red lanterns adorning Chinese weddings and New Year celebrations or Swedish royalty dressed in all red. Whether it’s the red Shinto sanctuaries in Japan symbolising peace or red painted Ester eggs in Greece as good omens. Whether it is red light used to treat migraines or red flowers in the bedroom to ignite passion. The Red Cross sign of doctors or the explosive red planet, Mars. Whether it’s a red traffic signal or Mickey Mouse’s famous red romper. You might have taken ‘the red eye’ and are ‘seeing red’, or you could be a ‘red neck’ ‘painting the town red’.
It could be crimson, cardinal, scarlet, ox blood, fire engine, terra cotta, ruby, wine, rouge, russet or vermilion, red is everywhere! If one’s gaze does a 360 anywhere in the world, one is sure to spot many red things around, from the legendary red telephone booths and buses of London to the red fort of Delhi to the dancing red tulips in Amsterdam. Most country flags have red in them. Yet, red has never till date become a cliché. It maintains its uniqueness in spite of being omnipresent. It’s the least boring of colours in spite of being the most common of colours. Red rules!
In the ritzy world of fashion, red is definitely one of the most revered and staple colours. It is also synonymous with designer Valentino. Valentino’s age-old obsession with red has now become his trademark. Every collection of his has at least one solid red garment, generally the showstopper. In fact, he’s created entire collections in no other colour but red. Coming to think of it, red is and has always been such a darling of most designers that every year, with no exceptions there is always a shade of red included in the seasons colour trends. They give it a different fancy name every time, like sunset coral or rose burst or devil’s own, but it’s still red and it is always there. It’s like a comfort zone for most designers. A collection doesn’t feel complete unless there is something red in it.
Another designer who decided to use the colour red in a very innovative way is Christian Louboutin. His specialty is: all shoes produced by him have bright red soles. In fact that is exactly how a pair of Louboutins can be identified. They look so exclusive and fabulous; it is a pleasure to just watch a woman walk about in a pair of Louboutins with a little bit of that gorgeous red flashing from time to time… Needless to say owning a pair is every woman’s fantasy!
For decades now, right from Scarlet O’Hara or Scarlett Johansson, pop icons, fashionistas and super stars have experimented with this particular glorious colour, always in an effort to achieve that somewhat different, somewhat quirky and distinguishing look or personality that might set them apart from the multitude of celebrities. Madonna’s insanely bright red lipstick. Rihanna’s flaming red hair. Michael Jackson’s glittery red suits. Carrot Top’s wild red mane.
Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall’s ruby engraved tooth. How can one forget the red bathing suits of the hot-hot Baywatch lifeguards or the red Hermes Birkin bag made so popular by the Sex And The City girls. Even the red ribbon to support AIDS awareness. The list is endless.
Finally, saving the best for last, it would be sacrilege not to mention the highest point, the greatest pride and honour, the definitive, the most significant and coveted point in the world of fashion, ‘The red carpet’ moment. A moment so grand and crucial, that both fans and the paparazzi anticipate and attend the red carpet event more eagerly than the actual award function that follows. And of course a red gown worn on the red carpet or even otherwise, is always a head turner no matter how many times it has already been seen! Red is a classic, it will never go out of style, we will never get tired of it and it will continue to amaze us with its different avatars forever.
They say that when a woman wears a red dress she automatically transforms into a mysterious, alluring, seductive and irresistible vixen that leaves any and every man besotted. It’s the magic of red, which never fails to charm the onlooker and the wearer alike. Testimony to this fact is the beautiful song ‘Lady in Red’.
As veteran designer Bill Blass rightly said, “When in doubt wear red.”