For most of us, our childhood was defined by one of two colours: pink and blue. From a young age, we were conditioned into thinking that ‘pink was for girls, blue was for boys.’ It happened almost unconsciously, with everything from our clothes to our decor, and even our make-up, being dressed up in variations of a certain hue depending on our gender.
Inevitably, pink gained a reputation for being equal parts ‘girly’, the calling card of Barbie or just bad taste – either fully embraced or shunned completely. The color became intrinsically tied with reductive connotations of femininity; whether you loved it or hated it, there was no escaping pink’s gendered overtones.
Fast forward to 2022, the year fashion and beauty reclaimed pink.
The hue burst onto the AW22 runways in bold iterations, manifesting in vivid fuchsia garments everywhere from Michael Kors, Dolce and Gabbana and Act No1. Elsewhere, Emporio Armani, Bronx Banco and Poster Girl all paid homage to the hue with their make-up, opting for punchy pink tones on the eyes.
But it was Valentino who truly confirmed the shade as the color of the season, dedicating their show to a celebration of what fashion week dubbed ‘Valentino Pink’. Think structural necklines and statement silhouettes paired with punk-ish explosions of pink on models’ eyelids.
‘For Valentino, colors have their own language,’ explains Valentino Beauty’s national make-up artist Kolii Jancso-Todoranov. ‘The vibrant fuchsia we’ve seen on the Valentino runway pushes the boundaries in this monotone concept, making a strong statement as well as influencing emotions.’
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But the reasoning behind the return of power pink goes far beyond its visually aesthetic appearance. Fashion and beauty are embracing the shedding of gendered stereotypes seen in wider culture, especially among younger generations.
‘The color pink has so many stigmas attached to it,’ says Jancso-Todoranov. ‘Pink was always thought to be a very feminine color that embraces female energies. Valentino is pushing the boundaries and completely reimagines the stigma behind colours. Colors are gender neutral and in 2022 we’re embracing everyone’s unique individuality.’
Something NARS lead makeup artist Rachel Hardie agrees with. ‘I think it is really important to reimagine gendered connotations as there is no need to gender specify colours,’ agrees . ‘Pink hasn’t always been known for its feminine symbolism, and in the mid 18th century, was a fashionable color that represented class and luxury that was worn by both male and female aristocrats.’
That isn’t to say that pink can no longer be a celebration of femininity. The shift, it seems, is highlighting how powerful pink can be in celebrating all elements of individual identity. When it comes to the vivid hue of the shade sweeping AW22, nostalgia is undoubtedly playing its hand; ‘The last era that neon-toned shades of pink were thriving was the early Nineties, where the combination of vibrant hues were used for self-expression,’ notes Jancso-Todoranov.
In terms of sourcing inspiration directly from the runways for your own looks, Hardie notes a shift away from perfectly precise, glamorous make-up, instead favoring a messier, abstract approach. ‘There’s a different take on pink this season, it almost has a lived in, grungier style,’ she says. ‘I love a bold fuchsia blown-out smokey eye, and I often think it looks at its best after a couple of hours wear. It’s so simple to recreate and suit almost everyone.’
‘The look Valentino created for the runway is a bold monotoned smooth-smokey look,’ says Jancso-Todoranov. ‘I would use the Eye2Cheek Dual-Use Eyeshadow and Blush in the shades Born in Roma and Very Rose and gently pack the color on the eyelids followed by a fluffy blending brush to smooth out the edges,’ he continues.
‘I love a monochromatic finish so I always like to use different shades of pink on the cheeks and lips as well creating a beautiful vibrant statement look.’
The secret to achieving a super intense, pigmented finish? ‘The trick here is to wet the brush which helps to amplify the pigments,’ he explains.
Hardie however prefers the use of a cream base, explaining, ‘To really intensify the pigment, I always suggest a lipstick or cream base, such as the Nars Must-Have Mattes Lipstick in Schiap to get intense depth of colour. I apply at the base of the lashes and up to the crease, softening the edge with my fingers.’
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