Neon creations, marshmallow pastels, Crayola brights. Thus far, the autumn / winter 2020 runway has been awash with saturated colours and kaleidoscopic accents. It makes sense: this is the dopamine boost we need as we creep into the daylight-dwindling bleak midwinter. Right? Though, can we take one moment to wax lyrical on one of the most underrated hues also enjoying a quiet revolution on the catwalk: brown.
Let’s say you have a choice between a black and a brown eyeliner, which one would you feel had more of an impact? Chances are the former. The same story – traditionally - has applied to our wardrobe. Long has it been anointed the ‘meh’ of autumnal hues; a wallflower in the company of its bossier pantone pals. Though, the London Fashion Week troupes have spoken - the café au lait (or gravy?) look is popping up everywhere, and we’re fully converted. The colour has moved on from its 1970s roots. The secret to embracing the new season update is all in the cut and styling.
“Once considered dowdy and non-descript, brown has been resuscitated by the tonal trend,” says BURO.’s beauty editor Phoebe McDowell. “Chocolate on caramel on camel on cream, see? The best tailoring and textures come in suits-all shades of brown, and you'll struggle to find a shade that doesn't look right with another. Therefore, wearing the colour head-to-toe, you don't really have to think about it. Or at least, look as if you've thought about it.”
Marques Almeida made a compelling case this season; presenting a coffee-coloured silk dress with floral prints, paired with military boots. Rejina Pyo also elevated the once-humble hue, with a head-to-toe brown cut-out dress that felt both feminine and punk. For a royal twist, see Shrimps’ faux fur chocolate coat, inspired by The Queen’s closet. Not quite ready to brave a full-on tonal look? Roland Mouret’s 80s-inspired AW20 collection showcased an array of brown separate ideas for the new season. To echo Miuccia Prada: “Brown is a colour that no one likes … so, of course, I like it because it’s difficult.”
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