IN THE PINK
"I wouldn't presume to tell a woman what a woman ought to think," said actress Kay Thompson, portraying Maggie Prescott, a fashion editor modeled after fabled Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, in the 1957 movie Funny Face. "But tell her if she's got to think, think pink!" Now nearly 40 years later, the fashion world is once again heeding that advice, pushing everything from bubblegum-colored handbags to form-fitting fuchsia suits. And celebs everywhere—including Nicole Kidman
, Princess Diana, Fran Drescher and Brooke Shields
—are basking in the rosy glow Even guys have gotten into the act: at the Batman Forever premiere in Los Angeles in June, Will Smith wore a mauve suit. "Pink can work for every personality," says designer Cynthia Rowley, whose pale pink creations have satisfied the palettes of Sarah Jessica Parker
, model Stephanie Seymour and singer Lisa Loeb. "It can be sexy, it can be sophisticated, it can be a little trampy."
Even so, pink has been slow to catch on among civilians. Explained one retail analyst: "If you want to look like a Barbie doll, the color is fine." But thanks to all its high-profile supporters, the hue is everywhere. And that has helped designers out to promote more feminine fashions. Says couturier Bill Blass, whose spring collection included a garden of rose-tinted cashmere coats, marabou boleros and silk crepe gowns: "It was my natural reaction after so many seasons of black, black, black. It was a way of poking fun at the fashion industry."
But, say style watchers, there's nothing childish about the trend. "Though pink is the color associated with sweetness and femininity," says Valerie Steele, a professor at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology, "women are now able to wear it without being stereotyped as little froufrou ladies." In fact, Blass says, wearers must have "a certain sophistication" in order to be pretty in pink today. "It's insipid on a too-girlish woman," he says. "It needs a little toughness."