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Color trends are like leaves—they change with the seasons. Of course, the fall months are typically reserved for deeper, richer hues (hearty bordeauxs, earthy greens, and the like), while springtime tends to welcome a medley of spirited pastels. So then, it was to everyone’s surprise when a cavalcade of lilac-hued garments traipsed down the runway at several different Fall/Winter 2021 shows. Typically a March-through-May signature, the lavender color trend is making a home for itself in fall this year—and all the style watchers are already on board.
This isn’t the first time the hue has popped up in autumn shows—Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel circa-1990 was known for doling out intricate purple looks. Balenciaga and Giorgio Armani, too, had their fair share of autumnal purple moments through the aughts. Still, never did purple turn up in such droves as it did during the Fall/Winter 2021 fashion season. From Stella McCartney to St. John, lilac looks dominated: glitter-dipped boots, quilted puffers, and billowing dresses in the pastel tone took center stage, proving that purple is ready to find a new lease of life in our own wardrobes this season.
When Did the Lavender Color Trend Originate?
It all started in February 2021, when JW Anderson dropped a voluminous pear-shaped, orchid-hued knit dress into his lookbook-style presentation. Around the same time, New York City and Southern China-based brand PH5 broke out its signature mix of squiggly knits in the very same shade. By the time Paris Fashion Week was drawing to a close, Chanel had subbed out pink tweed skirt-suits for purples, and Miu Miu had cocooned models in lilac down layers to brave the elements. Then, in July, Gossip Girl’s Monet de Haan (played by Savannah Smith) turned out in a purple puff-sleeved suit from Christopher John Rogers for the designer’s on-screen catwalk moment, a move that all but fated the color’s prominence in the months ahead.
Of course, there’s no saying the color’s true origin (beyond chemistry class in 1856, when 18-year-old student William Henry Perkin unwittingly invented the shade)—but its recent revival could have something to do with the Bottega effect. For those who aren’t familiar, Daniel Lee—who claimed the Italian fashion house’s creative director seat in 2019—is a master of generating trends. His imprint on the brand, and fashion as a whole, started a pattern of sorts: Every time Bottega Veneta releases something, the rest are quick to follow. (Just look at what happened to Bottega green.) It’d make sense as the lilac hue was baked into the label’s Spring 2021 collection. No matter the origin, lavender is here to stay—and it’s wise to start compiling outfit ideas for it sooner, rather than later.
How to Wear Lavender This Fall
As luck would have it, lavender pairs well with both of our Pantone Colors of the Year, Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Gray, so if you invested in these 2021-centric color trends, you’re one step ahead. Pair a lilac dress like Safiyaa’s with a yellow handbag and matching heels for an afternoon of lunching. For days at the office, team a gray blazer with a lilac sweater (á la Valentino) for a polished, professional look. Hoping to transfer the shade from day to night? Amina Muaddi’s embellished heel will do the trick with one of Miu Miu’s sequin-coated dresses, which have yet to hit e-shelves. If you struggle to stray from neutrals (we get it), opt for a more subtle punch of color via Bottega Veneta’s purple shades.
No matter which option you gravitate towards, these lavender pieces are sure to boost your style quotient through and through. Go ahead, test it out—and give your usual assortment of chestnut-hued sweaters and cranberry coats a rest this year. Who knows? They may just pop up come spring.