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Wear pink, and don't blush

Your attention please: Dump that basic black.

Hot pink is aiming to do this summer and into fall what yellow did for last fall. The recession-battered fashion industry is using bright, happy colors to coax customers back into stores.

"Hot pink is all over the place right now," says Hope Greenberg, fashion director at Lucky. "Right now, designers need to do something that will capture your attention at retail. . . . You really need clothes that are going to jump out at the customer."

The choice to use fuchsia, bright berry or highlighter pink makes sense.

"From neon to fuchsia, hot pink is very versatile. It goes with gray, brown, navy, army green . . . there are a million things to wear it with," says Greenberg.

It's good to start out test-driving such a bold color with a small purchase — perhaps a belt or shoe, she suggests. She started with a neon pink T-shirt. "I wore it to work and everyone loved it and gave me compliments all day," Greenberg says.

Meanwhile, Linda Wells, editor in chief of Allure, is eyeing a hot pink Dolce & Gabbana coat. "I feel like it's really energizing. You have to be up for wearing the color, though. You are going to get noticed."

Style expert Mary Alice Stephenson says celebrities are attracted to fuchsia and its cousin colors for the red carpet for that very reason.

"There's a push for pink now," says Stephenson. "It used to be pink was for Paris Hilton and breast cancer awareness, but now all of a sudden there's the interest in neon."

"It's bright, fresh and sassy," agrees model/actor Molly Sims, a client of Stephenson. She wore bright pink to the Vanity Fair Oscars party this year. "You don't need a lot of anything else with that color. It makes it easy in that way that you can keep the rest of your outfit simple."

Sims adds: "Putting on pink — it just makes me feel good."

Stephenson thinks the fall collections of designers such as Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez and Matthew Williamson did wonders to dispel any fears that hot pink is too young, too bold or too scary.

"They showed you it can look sophisticated and grownup. . . . Feminine pink is pretty, but it's the over-the-top hue that makes it strong and sexy."

It helps that bright pink works with many skin tones, giving an instant lift to the complexion, notes Stephenson. It also can be as bold as you want to make it, since it pairs so nicely with basic black or a classic, tailored shape.

A hot pink dress with black tights and ankle boots will be really chic come the new season, adds Lucky's Greenberg, and a berry blouse under a jacket is the kind of look you can wear anywhere.

Unlike a shift in silhouette to, for example, miniskirts or skinny jeans, color is a trend that all women can participate in, she says.

David Wolfe, creative director at the Doneger Group, a fashion forecasting company, says pink is popping because the fashion industry is looking back at the 1930s for inspiration and ideas on getting out of the current downturn.

"Pink is a psychological expression of feeling good," he says. "You like seeing it on others, people like seeing it on themselves."

The color also plays into other trends, including an 1980s revival, the celebration of Barbie's 50th birthday and interest in India's celebratory colors thanks to Slumdog Millionaire.

"Every time hot pink comes in, it sells like hotcakes," Wolfe says. "Everybody looks good in it. It makes older people look younger and younger people more sophisticated."

Wear pink, and don't blush 07/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 17, 2009 5:30am]

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