Train Your Eye on Millennial Pink
I’m thinking I’ve been in this business too long. When discussing design and branding, I remember a time when the mantra of every male client was, “Any color but pink!” Now it seems that both men and women alike are saying, “Any color, as long as it’s ‘millennial pink!’” At least that’s the word coming out of last month’s Milan Design Week. So it must be so.
Start looking around and you’ll begin to notice this muted shade of color — described as somewhere between beige and blush — appearing in furniture design, commercial office interiors, bathrooms, houseware products, cosmetics, toys and fashion.
This over-the-top island sofa from Spanish furniture brand Sancal is a perfect example of how millennial pink is making the design world unhinged.
As one who once painted their kitchen walls Pepto-Bismol pink (great complement to anything black), I may not qualify as an arbiter of good taste, but I do think I know a passing fad when I see one (i.e., women’s “cold shoulder” blouses).
But this is no Pepto-Bismol pink or Barbie Dream House pink. One confused reviewer described it as “sort of a grapefruit shade of apricotty salmon.”
Make no mistake about it: it’s pink, and the design community is breathless.
An early adopter piece in New York Magazine had millennial author Veronique Hylan describing millennial pink as “a non-color that doesn’t commit, whose semi-ugliness is proof of its sophistication.”
She questioned her attraction to the color by asking:
“Do I like this because I like this or because I’m buying back my own re-packaged childhood in the form of blush-toned lip gloss and stickers? Because the Pantone industrial complex is direct-marketing to my generation?
Fortunately, in the end, the author had the good sense to question if she was overthinking things a bit...
And what’s the male “take” on this indescribable (don’t call it a pastel) color?
When it comes to men’s fashions, Esquire Magazine deemed millennial pink “an emblem of an age both ostensibly post-gender and at the same time, obsessed with gender politics, a palette of ‘wokeness’ and a soft-hued sign of the times.”
(I will save you the trouble of looking up the word “wokeness.” I did it for us. It means a measurable state of awareness about what’s happening in the world.)
I think it’s fair to say that on balance, pink shirts and ties are OK with most men; pink motorcycles and island sofas are not. Other than that, I don’t think men think-pink while daydreaming (I could be wrong).
Sadly, while you’ve been reading this blog, millennial pink has started inching its way over-and-out. Once the hoi polloi — you and me — latch on to a trend, it’s so over.
Perhaps a good time for olive drab to start making a comeback...?