The spring collections were also an explosion of optical patterns, graphic stripes and checks, mix-and-match African-inspired prints, Crayola colored color-blocking gone mad and just about every variations of color schemes you can think of. And, unless you have been living under a rock--however stylish it is--and/or under house arrest, you've probably also noticed that the singular trend that seems to have leaped out in front of all the other color trends we saw is neon.
Neon hues have filtered through virtually every part of fashion: from the runways of New York, Paris and Milan to the (yet again) emerging trend of colored denim. Neon has also hit the accessories world in a big way; from killer neon heels to electric (and eclectic) jewelry, handbags and fluorescent belts. In the beauty world, neon has never been more popular. It's hard for most women to pull off shocking shades with hair and makeup; but as your mother once told you and I paraphrase, a little bit of neon will go a long way in spring/summer 2012.
"[As] it comes and goes every 4-5 years, the neon trend is not here to stay for very long," says Priscilla Montiero, Founder and Publisher of The Fashion Reporter (www.thefashionreporter.com), and Featured Fashion Blogger for The Shops at Columbus Circle. "Fashion is like history, it repeats itself so it is good to hold onto those [especially] vivid pieces and revamp them with as needed when the trend comes around again, as it inevitably will."
A longtime fashion force of nature and shoe aficionado (and soon to launch--with her 2012 fall/winter collection--the first full season of Princess London Shoes (www.princesslondonshoes.com), her own line of high fashion shoes), she knows of what she speaks: "[As with any trend], you have to keep the best and throw out the rest. I got a cool pair of 6-inch neon platforms from Topshop back in 2008 when they first landed in New York City; and until this day, I get stopped and asked who makes them. So that goes to show that when you carefully select trendy pieces, they can also become timeless classics. I personally prefer anything vintage-inspired; however, on occasion I may go overboard for an extremely bold, statement piece. Thank goodness for consignment shops to get rid of outdated or unwanted items!"
In the Mid-1980's, neon colors ruled and the phrase "Colors That Do Not Exist in Nature" became a familiar expression as neon filtered through the emerging punk rock music world and became the palette of suburban American youth rebellion, making its impact in shoes, makeup, accessories and artfully ripped torn t-shirts. I remember those days very well. Good times. In the 1990′s, neon returned to the forefront as club kids high on life and Ecstasy waved their glow sticks as they danced the night away the Limelight to the music of Sir Mix-a-Lot, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper, Right Said Fred, TLC, PM Dawn, Janet Jackson, C&C Music Factory feat. F. Williams, Deee-Lite, and SNAP!
In the mid-2000′s, Reebok introduced the green-neon-trimmed Court Victory Pump sneaker, which glows in the dark (good for shooting hoops in a pitch-black gym, although I don't know why you would want to do that). 2007 would also be significant as neon hair and makeup hit the fashion show runways of Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton at the spring/summer 2008 fashion shows, among others; and MAC Cosmetics introduced neon eye shadows to its collection. Like a fine wine, neon fashion may wax and wane in popularity over time, but it has never completely faded away.
Neon Fashion Trends in Spring 2012
The heightened neon fashion moment for spring/summer 2012 pretty much started on the New York Fashion Week runways in September 2011. It wasn't so much that no one had not seen neon colors from the previous two seasons; it was more the physical onslaught of so many bright colors, prints and patterns coming at us, show after show after show, that stopped us on our tracks. There was so much color--neon or otherwise--coming down those runways that a collection such as Nicholas K., an ode to layers of black, white, gray and sand (which I loved), was seen as a palate cleanser. Then, as in many times as I have been sitting in a show venue watching a collection go by, I wondered, "Who's going to wear that stuff?"
The answer, of course, is nearly everyone regardless of age, although in varying degrees and in as many different ways as possible. As with everything in fashion, first you scoff with derision; next you process over time and finally, after your eyes and brain have adjusted, you surrender and accept it. It's our abbreviated version of the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle (Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Testing, and finally Acceptance) and we go through it regularly.
Pantone's Spring 2012 Fashion Color Report laid the foundation for bright optimistic colors. And given our lack of confidence in the health of the economy and its continued weakness, maybe we need all the optimism we can get. Naturally, all the designers attended Première Vision's fabric trade show in Paris (the world's foremost fabric and materials show), saw the same colors and fabrics from the same mills and had a vision, pardon the pun. Maybe they too realized that we needed some brightness, some optimism in our lives; and what else would give you that if not the bright colors in as many shades and finishes we saw on the runways? Once you move on from 'what the hell?' and view the runway shots on style.com at your leisure after fashion week or the stacks of lookbooks that comes in via snail mail and/or by email as post-show reminders from the designers' PR teams, you do want to incorporate a little bit of neon into your life. You are so tired of the low-grade fever of worrying about money and the mortgage; you want to feel the optimism it represents. As the song from the 80's goes, "my future's so bright, I gotta wear shades." The time was ripe for a big EXPLOSIVE neon moment.
The designers that considerably brightened the runways in September included BCBG Max Azria, Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley, Jen Kao, Callula Lillibelle, Guishem, Jeremy Scott, Joy Cioci, Juan Carlos Abando, Lela Rose (who was inspired by the iconic Neon Graveyard in Las Vegas--where all good Las Vegas casino signage goes to die--and Coney Island), Nanette Lepore, Milly by Michelle Smith, Nicole Miller, Sachika by TO-TAM & TO-NYA SACHIKA, Tadashi Shoji, Mark Fast (with his Faster by Mark Fast show held at Milk Studios), and Mara Hoffman.
We saw neon bright makeup and accessories again from Mark Fast (loved, loved the way the makeup, clothing, accessories and lighting at the Faster by Mark Fast show all came together in creating one cool, big Neon Kool-Aid Acid Trip Dream), extra bright lipstick at Betsey Johnson, Joy Cioci, neon bright eye makeup on the fairies in residence at the Erickson Beamon show again at Milk Studios, the killer neon colored wedge sandals at Nanette Lepore, Mara Hoffman's kitschy but stylish crochet (0r is it macramé) chandelier drop earrings, the delightfully colorful plastic-framed sunglasses at Milly by Michelle Smith, Diane von Furstenberg's canary benefit ball-ready yellow clutches and envelope handbags, and the bright green cactus print cross-shoulder bag from Jeremy Scott.
Of course, the trend towards neon and bright colors will continue, if the 2012 Fall/Winter Collections is any indication. The neon trend was still alive and well (although they are generally vivid pastels than outright neon in some cases), as evident by the European collections from Jonathan Saunders, Kenzo, Gazzarrini (for men), Mulberry, House of Holland, Paul Smith Men, See by Chloe, Stella McCartney, Sportsmax, Dries Van Norten, DSquared2, Giorgio Armani, Paul&Joe and Gaetano Navarra.)
Neon Fashion slideshow at Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2012
Neon Accessories for Women in Summer 2012
In accessorizing your outfit with a neon or bright color, it's important to practice some restraint. When it comes to jewelry, belts, etc., do not go beyond a maximum of two bold colors; say your all-black pants and top paired with bright colored bangles and a colorful belt. A little goes a long way, unless you are adding a bunch of different color bracelets or bangles. That's always fun. We are going for balance here, not reminding people of a Christmas tree in in the middle of August. Neon accessories go especially well with your summer white outfits, as well as greys. You can incorporate neon into your professional workwear by pairing a dark or grey skirt suit with a yellow or cerulean blue chemise top, a la Sigourney Weaver in and Melanie Griffith in the movie, Working Girl. You are the height of fashion but still looking very professional.
Neon clutches and bags can bring new life to any outfit and can transition from day to night. Adding a bright orange or pink clutch to a somewhat earthbound ensemble adds immediate edge. Keep some accessories, neon or otherwise, in your desk draw so that you can go from office to dinner with the girls without having to go home to change. Another great way to go neon is add a neon-colored handbag like the Flouro from the Cambridge Satchel Company (http://www.cambridgesatchel.co.uk) from Britain. The Cambridge Satchel Company's Fluoro Bag ($149) first caused a commotion at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's Spring 2012 Shows when plenty of attendees showed up toting it around. (The company probably salted the earth by sending out numerous complimentary samples to a cross-section of the top female magazine editors and the top influential bloggers hoping that they will create a buzz. They were right.) However having said that, thanks to plenty of street style photographs circulating across the Internet, this British bag instantly became the It Bag for spring. With its vintage, Eton-esque, schoolboy messenger bag look, the Fluoro--short for "fluorescent"--comes in four attention-grabbing colors and is on-trend in the best possible way.
Neon! Photo Shoot Credits:
Photographed by: Cheryl Gorski| Photographer & Creative Director | 716-895-1689 | 716-903-0600 | email@example.com | Also on Facebook specializing in: Fashion, head shots/modeling/acting, editorial, portraits, bands/CD Press Kits, corporate events, Web photography, runway
Styled by: Cheryl Gorski | Photographer & Creative Director | 716-895-1689 | 716-903-0600 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hair: Christiana Christiano, email@example.com
Makeup: Dani Weiser, Makeup Artist | www.hollywoodmakeupartist.net | 716-348-1239 | Make-up teacher, weddings, TV, film, print and SFX. Hollywood Sunless Tanning, for appointments. Website is www.hollywoodsunlesstanning.com
Set Production: Michael Merisola: Set Designer/Stylist & expert in Antiques/Modern Furniture: Owner of Coo Coo U 1478 Hertel Ave, Buffalo | 716-432-6216 | www.coocoou.com
Accessories/Props Stylist: Lucy Perrone-Mancuso: Prop Stylist| Moda Vintage, 1509 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, New York | 716-725-6636 | Specializing in accessories, antiques, jewelry, furnishings, buy & sell, and rental for motion pictures/films, and photo shoots.
Model Casting: Kimberly Cohen, Casting Director & model/actress for movies, plays, photography and films. firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: kmcohen, Facebook: Kimberly Cohen
Clothing and Accessories Credits:
Zuri: Daisy Braid Headdress from Free People, Orange Neon Striped Shirt from Vanity, Lime
Neon Shorts from dELiA*s
Zuri: Mellon Chiffon Dress from Cache
Zuri: White Lace Dress from Free People
Zuri: Black Cotton "Love" Tank Top with multicolored neon studs accents from Marshalls, Skinny Lime Green Jeans from dELiA*s, Neon makeup from Urban Outfitters
Melissa: Orange Neon Striped Capped Sleeve Blouse & Spandex Neon Orange Skirt from H&M
Melissa: Lime Green Tube Top Bra & Orange Skinny Jeans from DELiA*s, Lime Green Neon Suede Peep toe Strappy Sandal from Charlotte Russe
Melissa: 70′s-inspired Tunic Gown from Cache, Frayed Fabric Headband from Free People
Additional Credits: Neon Makeup from Urban Outfitters, Neon Hairpieces from Sally's Beauty Supply, Open Weave Headband from Free People, Chandelier Plastic Vintage Tulip Earrings from Moda Vintage. All Other Necklaces, Bracelets and Earrings from Moda Vintage