How Lilac Became The New Millennial Pink

by: Lucy Jones | 8 months ago | Features

Ali MacGraw lookin' lovely in lilac. Image Source.

When I was in high school, I had the great privilege of picking out a paint colour for the feature wall in my bedroom. I stood before a smorgasbord of pink, red, and purple squares at my local Bunning’s Warehouse and asked myself, ‘which one is ME?’ And then I saw it: an almost fluorescent shade of hot pink. This colour, more than any other, captured my mood at the time: girly, loud and a little bit misunderstood.

Every now and then a colour comes along that speaks to people the same way hot pink once spoke to me. For the past few years, millennial pink has been that colour. The muted shade of marshmallow pink is feminine without being overly girly. It is an antidote to the saccharine Barbie pinks that have dominated the ‘girls’ section of department stores for so long. It’s not a regular pink, it’s a cool pink. For a while, this pleasant shade of pink was everywhere: on our clothes, on our sneakers, and even on our house plants. But now, a new colour has come along that captures the mood of 2018 even more accurately than millennial pink. That colour is, drumroll pls, lilac!

This moody colour is full of contradictions, just like you. As The Cut points out, It is somewhere in-between hot and cold, happy and sad, red and blue, male and female. It is the colour of the lavender bush you walk past every day, the lipstick you wore to your first real party, and the sweater that your Nanna has been wearing for 30 years. Lilac comes across as cool, but there’s a big softie underneath that stony exterior. That’s what makes lilac so relatable and so popular.

The colour has been having a moment on the runway this year, cropping up at Tom Ford, Victoria Beckham and Tibi’s SS18 shows. The only fashion expert we care about, Rihanna, duh, has also officially approved lilac.


ya dig?!

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Lorde is a lilac fan too. The star looked like an incredibly dramatic swan in her feathery lavander gown at the MTV Music Video Awards this year. (If this outfit doesn’t scream Melodrama then I’m not sure what does.) 

The colour experts over at Pantone have determined that a bright shade of Ultra Violet is THE colour of 2018

“Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.,” Pantone said in a statement.

“Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolises experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.”

Purple is also associated with gender-neutrality and the LGBTQI movement. Australia’s annual Wear it Purple Day encourages individuals and groups to show solidarity with the queer community by wearing purple. The message of this initiative is simple: “everyone has the right to be proud of who they are”. The bold shade of purple promises to empower, protect, and support people of all genders and sexualities.  

In all its glorious shades, purple tells us that it is okay to be confused or conflicted. The business of being human is full of these beautiful, messy contradictions. So why not embrace the chaos by wearing a lilac outfit that says: I don’t know what the heck is going on most of the time and that is totally fine!


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