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TIME WAS, NEUTRALS HAD A LIMITED DEFINITION and an even more limited degree of fashion excitement. Neutrals were thought of as fashion “background,” not “foreground,” and were rarely, if ever, bold, exciting, or edgy.  — Well, hold on to your seats, because all that is rapidly, dramatically changing!


Just look at the new neutrals parading across fashion runways this year.  A biggie is grey, but certainly not your everyday, familiar grey at any costs.  Think in terms of color blended grey, creating a soft lilac-y grey, a pale blue-ish grey and a very sophisticated pinky-grey.  Add to all of this some wild and brilliantly forged clothing and accessories texture, like shimmery, pastel-y satin, or shiny ambergris-grey silk. Pit it with flashy patent leather that flashes lightning images across the room.  These are show-off colors at their best!                  


But…don’t let it go at that.  The new neutrals include soft peachy colors, light tans (not to be compromised by the laid-back nature shades of yesterday), sexy nude colors that revive the sensual languor and decadence of the 30s, and black – intense and saturated,  screaming high sheen and vibrating with a kind of hot, sometimes Gothic, energy. Black is the new neutral essential, by itself and accenting other neutrals, lifting pastels to a new palette category, and turning the whole color spectrum a little askew, but fascinating.     


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TWO-TONES LIKEWISE PLAY into the neutral push in an intriguing fashion. The double entendre, so to speak, works a kind of magical light effect on color, intensifying it, and turning what would otherwise be a single color into something more dramatic, more creative. The technique is especially effective with accessories, like handbags, where a single, more reserved look is desired, but with a heightened color impact.  It’s a fast way of putting zing into the product!


An off-beat example of the two-tone rush is with Wolford’s nylon and spandex tights; the two color design — separate neutral grey tones on separate legs — gives a sexy vertical line that visually elongates the legs and makes both of them stand out in relief against each other.


 In jewelry, freshwater pearls can offer many of the same exciting neutral color effects.  Consider the neutral color play of iridescent crystal with freshwater pearls in a double row necklace.  Or, an iridescent grey, irregularly shaped freshwater pearl necklace that gives a deep neutral color effect that is contemporary and popular.  


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SILVER IS ANOTHER NEW NEUTRAL giving clothing and accessories a very contemporary look, especially when it is paired with an airy, blue-grey color.  Needless to say, silver jewelry reaches a high point of importance with this neutral expression, especially in eveningwear. 


Silver bracelets always look good, but for this particular mode, try those very modern, sleek and shiny silver cuffs.  Pair them with more silver, matte or shiny and, again, modern, like wide and thin interchangeable bangles that resonate against each other. 



Long slippery shiny silver earrings can complete the look when put above a silver necklace that is plain or spotted with neutral gemstones, especially a very light yellow, like a pale yellow diamond color.    


There are many ways of working jewelry against neutral clothing for a surprisingly dazzling look. If you play with different pieces you’ll begin to get the idea.  Done right, this is simultaneously sophisticated and glimmery.  It can also have a degree of glitz, but it is anything but coarse or jarring.  The idea is to keep it all balanced, harmonious, and smooth — very, very smooth.


But…is it luxe?  Well, what else could it be?

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, December 5th, 2008

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