Think pink: It’s the colour of the year. Here’s how to nail it

Deirdre McQuillan: Pink is particularly good with grey, says Aoife Dunican, aka the Instagrammer StyleBob

When a spellbinding ensemble in hot pink floated down the Spanish Steps in Rome complete with a plumage of suspended pink feathers by Philip Treacy at Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino autumn-winter 2022 haute-couture show, the shade earned its own Pantone name and set the trend for the winter season.

“I needed to put all my hopes and dreams and basically everything that makes me feel good into the colour,” Piccioli told Vogue. “Pink can be delicate, sensual, hedonistic and irreverent.” When Treacy showed that image at the Making In seminar at Joseph Walsh’s workshop in Kinsale a few weeks ago, it drew a spontaneous round of applause from the 500-strong audience.

In an exciting winter season when people are dressing up again, hot pink, according to Aoife Dunican, the popular StyleBob on Instagram, is the colour of the year but top to toe is not for everybody “though you can make an nod to it through a jacket or scarf. Pink is particularly good with grey, and a dark grey winter coat looks great with accents of colour.”

For Ruth Ní Loinsigh of Om Diva, pink is a shade deeply rooted in comfort.


“I wear pink quite a lot and I think it’s a gorgeous colour with so many shades and goes with so many things – with black, with green or yellow. My recent flea market purchases were a pair of pink marabou feather stilettoes – you are never too old for pink stilettoes!”

Pink has form when it comes to its power to command attention. Shocking Pink made the name of the inventive, surrealist couturier Elsa Schiaparelli (currently the subject of a major retrospective Shocking at the Musee des Arts Décoratifs in Paris).

It was a bright pink Cartier diamond that once belonged to Russian royalty “bright, impossible, impudent” that inspired the designer to incorporate the shade into her first perfume in 1937 called Shocking. The colour became her signature and cropped up again and again in her collections. In the 1980s Lacroix paired pink with bright red, but most used it sparingly – apart from Barbie − until Valentino this year boldly made it top to toe.

In her book English Style, designer Luella Bartley distinguished the various pinks from posh and punk to preppy and princess, a colour that is gender neutral, flattering to both sexes. The late “tailor to the stars” Nicky Wallace always argued that it was a great colour for male complexions and one of his favourite pieces was a pink linen jacket for men. Who would have thought that James Bond aka Daniel Craig would turn up to the No Time to Die premiere in a pink velvet double-breasted tuxedo to universal acclaim and approval?

For Irish knitwear designer Laura Chambers, who has nailed the shade again this winter, pink has always been her best-selling colour.

“The Irish really love vibrant hot pink – and what I call ribbon pink is softer, but it is the very blue pink that sells to fairer skins.

“It can be worn with black or grey and once you put a pink scarf with that, it lifts your face and adds colour, vibrancy and attitude – brightening monochromes without too much of a commitment.”

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author