Pink is Now... and Then
by Michelle Jester
as seen in Modern Grace Magazine
Something unusual is happening in the world of color. I've heard it referenced a number of times, however recently the topic seems to be popping up everywhere. So, out of curiosity, I decided to research it and quickly found that no one can quite agree on what the color actually is. Pantone, being the leading authority on color trends for the past forty plus years, surely would have it, I thought. Shockingly, they didn't.
So I went on a scavenger hunt through fashion trends, marketing data, graphic design experts, and popular social media icons, only to find Millennial Pink is not a definitive color at all. It’s more a range of colors. And not a clearly defined range, at that. It's an aesthetic made up of an eclectic multi-generational set of colors. That in turn prompted me to question what generations of pink we are actually looking at.
Pink has been elemental in fashion, but it wasn’t always a feminine color. It didn’t reach its height of feminization until the early fifties when Petal Pink kitchen appliances were introduced and became an instant hit. The popular expressive color targeted to women soon appeared in fashion such as the Strawberry Pink aka Coco Chanel Pink suit, which became a fashion statement for women who wanted to portray a strong image of sophistication, intelligence and independence. It rose to infamy when Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (later to become known as Jackie O) wore it on the day her husband President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, November 22, 1963. Ironically, and totally off topic, many current feminists don’t want pink associated with feminism much anymore, even though the original Pink Coco Chanel suit was a declaration of the independent woman.
As I reflected into the sixties and seventies, Hot Pink grew in popularity, until several shades, including Fluorescent Pink and Mauve, burst through in the eighties. The nineties brought Strawberry Pink and Dusty Rose back around again and introduced Mellow Rose and Pale Dogwood.
The early two thousands pushed another wave of pink shades by bringing the blushes from Pink Champagne and Ballet Slipper to… well, Blush. Then, in 2016 Pantone debuted the astonishing Rose Quartz as its color of the year and it was everywhere.
Now, in 2019, we are watching changes in the way color progresses. Until now, popular colors have always been well defined. That says a lot about the generation that is driving Millennial Pink. They are a generation that refuses to be defined. It also says a lot about the way other generations are embracing it, because truly the “color” is a simple fusing of many decades. A sort of coming together. And also, a way of being free from constraint.
Some say it’s Rose Quartz, with a twist. Some say it’s Pale Dogwood. One thing is for sure, in the almost “anything goes” trends culture this summer from romantic florals and pastels, Athleisure, patchwork, Tartan plaids, animal prints, Neo-Gothic, and bold shades ranging the color wheel, it's easy to still see Millennial Pink fits right in.
While Pantone did announce their new Living Coral would be the “it” color this year, it’s telling that we are seeing the unpredictable “Millennial Pink” still trending right along with it. It’s everywhere. Undefined. Unrestrained. Out of the box.
Millennial Pink is all of us.