By Phillip D. Johnson
New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 Runway Images by Cheryl Gorski/Fashion Maniac
Neon! Photo Shoot Images Photographed by Cheryl Gorski/Fashion Maniac
If you had to use one word to sum up the spring/summer 2012′s hottest looks, that word would be color—oodles and oodles of brilliant, eye-catching, mood-brightening color in clothing, shoes and accessories. And it’s not just brilliant, eye-catching color. The spring collections were also an explosion of optical patterns, graphic stripes and checks, mix-and-match African-inspired prints, Crayola colored color-blocking gone mad and just about every variations of color schemes you can think of. And, unless you have been living under a rock—however stylish it is—and/or under house arrest, you’ve probably also noticed that the singular trend that seems to have leaped out in front of all the other color trends we saw is neon.
Neon hues have filtered through virtually every part of fashion: from the runways of New York, Paris and Milan to the (yet again) emerging trend of colored denim. Neon has also hit the accessories world in a big way; from killer neon heels to electric (and eclectic) jewelry, handbags and fluorescent belts. In the beauty world, neon has never been more popular. It’s hard for most women to pull off shocking shades with hair and makeup; but as your mother once told you and I paraphrase, a little bit of neon will go a long way in spring/summer 2012.
“[As] it comes and goes every 4-5 years, the neon trend is not here to stay for very long,” says Priscilla Montiero, Founder and Publisher of The Fashion Reporter (www.thefashionreporter.com), and Featured Fashion Blogger for The Shops at Columbus Circle. “Fashion is like history, it repeats itself so it is good to hold onto those [especially] vivid pieces and revamp them with as needed when the trend comes around again, as it inevitably will.”
In the Mid-1980’s, neon colors ruled and the phrase “Colors That Do Not Exist in Nature” became a familiar expression as neon filtered through the emerging punk rock music world and became the palette of suburban American youth rebellion, making its impact in shoes, makeup, accessories and artfully ripped torn t-shirts. I remember those days very well. Good times. In the 1990′s, neon returned to the forefront as club kids high on life and Ecstasy waved their glow sticks as they danced the night away the Limelight to the music of Sir Mix-a-Lot, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper, Right Said Fred, TLC, PM Dawn, Janet Jackson, C&C Music Factory feat. F. Williams, Deee-Lite, and SNAP!
In the mid-2000′s, Reebok introduced the green-neon-trimmed Court Victory Pump sneaker, which glows in the dark (good for shooting hoops in a pitch-black gym, although I don’t know why you would want to do that). 2007 would also be significant as neon hair and makeup hit the fashion show runways of Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton at the spring/summer 2008 fashion shows, among others; and MAC Cosmetics introduced neon eye shadows to its collection. Like a fine wine, neon fashion may wax and wane in popularity over time, but it has never completely faded away.
Neon Fashion Trends in Spring 2012
The heightened neon fashion moment for spring/summer 2012 pretty much started on the New York Fashion
Week runways in September 2011. It wasn’t so much that no one had not seen neon colors from the previous two seasons; it was more the physical onslaught of so many bright colors, prints and patterns coming at us, show after show after show, that stopped us on our tracks. There was so much color—neon or otherwise—coming down those runways that a collection such as Nicholas K., an ode to layers of black, white, gray and sand (which I loved), was seen as a palate cleanser. Then, as in many times as I have been sitting in a show venue watching a collection go by, I wondered, “Who’s going to wear that stuff?”
The answer, of course, is nearly everyone regardless of age, although in varying degrees and in as many different ways as possible. As with everything in fashion, first you scoff with derision; next you process over time and finally, after your eyes and brain have adjusted, you surrender and accept it. It’s our abbreviated version of the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle (Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Testing, and finally Acceptance) and we go through it regularly.
Pantone’s Spring 2012 Fashion Color Reportlaid the foundation for bright optimistic colors. And given our lack of confidence in the health of the economy and its continued weakness, maybe we need
all the optimism we can get. Naturally, all the designers attended Première Vision’s fabric trade show in Paris (the world’s foremost fabric and materials show), saw the same colors and fabrics from the same mills and had a vision, pardon the pun. Maybe they too realized that we needed some brightness, some optimism in our lives; and what else would give you that if not the bright colors in as many shades and finishes we saw on the runways? Once you move on from ‘what the hell?’ and view the runway shots on style.com at your leisure after fashion week or the stacks of lookbooks that comes in via snail mail and/or by email as post-show reminders from the designers’ PR teams, you do want to incorporate a little bit of neon into your life. You are so tired of the low-grade fever of worrying about money and the mortgage; you want to feel the optimism it represents. As the song from the 80’s goes, “my future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” The time was ripe for a big EXPLOSIVE neon moment.
The designers that considerably brightened the runways in September included BCBG Max Azria, Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley, Jen Kao, Callula Lillibelle, Guishem, Jeremy Scott, Joy Cioci, Juan Carlos Abando, Lela Rose (who was inspired by the iconic Neon Graveyard in Las Vegas—where all good Las Vegas casino signage goes to die—and Coney Island), Nanette Lepore, Milly by Michelle Smith, Nicole Miller, Sachika by TO-TAM & TO-NYA SACHIKA, Tadashi Shoji, Mark Fast (with his Faster by Mark Fast show held at Milk Studios), and Mara Hoffman.
We saw neon bright makeup and accessories again from Mark Fast (loved, loved the way the makeup, clothing,
accessories and lighting at the Faster by Mark Fast show all came together in creating one cool, big Neon Kool-Aid Acid Trip Dream), extra bright lipstick at Betsey Johnson, Joy Cioci, neon bright eye makeup on the fairies in residence at the Erickson Beamon show again at Milk Studios, the killer neon colored wedge sandals at Nanette Lepore, Mara Hoffman’s kitschy but stylish crochet (0r is it macramé) chandelier drop earrings, the delightfully colorful plastic-framed sunglasses at Milly by Michelle Smith, Diane von Furstenberg’s canary benefit ball-ready yellow clutches and envelope handbags, and the bright green cactus print cross-shoulder bag from Jeremy Scott.
Of course, the trend towards neon and bright colors will continue, if the 2012 Fall/Winter Collections is any indication. The neon trend was still alive and well (although they are generally vivid pastels than outright neon in some cases), as evident by the European collections from Jonathan Saunders, Kenzo, Gazzarrini (for men), Mulberry, House of Holland, Paul Smith Men, See by Chloe, Stella McCartney, Sportsmax, Dries Van Norten, DSquared2, Giorgio Armani, Paul&Joe and Gaetano Navarra.) Neon is correspondingly big everywhere else this spring. Let us count the ways.
Neon Hair Trends
One might believe that neon hair color is only for punks, but with the 80s revival never having left, there’s never been a better time to give your crowning glory the neon Technicolor treatment. (Let’s be real, the 80s revival will always be with us because, quite frankly, we never really left the 80′s.) From highlighter pink wigs to multicolored hair dye, the reemergence of the vibrant, abstract style of the 1980s is not just another development of retro revival, it also stems from people wanting to express their uniqueness in as personal away as possible. For example, bright blue hair with matching blue makeup and according neon blue accessories, as witnessed at the Faster by Mark Fast show (although without the corresponding neon hair), is a big neon hair trend for spring/summer 2012. Done right, neon hair works best for the progressive and alternative woman or man who doesn’t have to go to bottom-down for the office on Monday morning. But it will also work for the woman who wants to let loose on the weekend, using temporary neon hair dyes without being tied to the look or having your weekend walk on the wild side leak over into their regular, nine-to-five world.
“I’ve seen people become less afraid of color over the years,” says Edward Tricomi, celebrity stylist and co-owner of Warren-Tricomi Salons. “It has become a way to express oneself.”
Whether it’s blue, brilliant yellow, green or purple, the Multi-Streak trend also works well because it allows you to temporarily dye your hair different shades of any one color along the color spectrum wheel or in as many different colors as you prefer. As such, you will see a woman with three or more different shades of blue or pink streaks throughout her hair and it’s the height of youthful exuberance. You can similarly go the all-over route (the obvious, Katy Perry with her blue hair, Pink with, well, her pink hair) and the safest of all, dyeing only the tips of your hair. (See more on that below.) The all-over neon look, like most everything in style today, had its heyday in the late 1960′s (remember Dynel wigs?), the 1970′s and really hit it big in the 1980′s and is not for the faint of heart. A product that is high on the Fashion Maniac 2012 Spring/Summer Hit List is Streekers ($11.95 at www.streekers.com). Planning a wild weekend? Wanna dabble with neon colors? With Streekers, you can change your look on Friday night and wash out the dye Saturday morning, no fuss involved. With seven vibrant colors, whatever look you are going for, Streekers is right for you.
You can also get the look by dip-dying the ends of your hair with chalk. Chalking is a technique Edward Tricomi is quite fond of. Edward believes chalking is great for achieving that shout-it-from-the-rooftop look, totally safe and easy to try at home. He suggests you choose colors that stand out against your existing hair color. “I prefer dominant colors because they pop,” he adds.
And the process, as he describes it, is quite simple: Wet the pastel chalk and twist the hair as you apply it directly onto the sections you want colored. The texture from twisting makes the chalk release more pigment. If you are a blonde, he advises that you be wary of wetting the chalk first as it could deposit too much color and not wash out with one shampoo. (Consider chalking without the water or test a small piece first to be sure.) You must always brush the excess powder out after chalking each piece and then finish the look with hairspray to secure the color. Another way to chalk hair is to drop a piece of chalk — the bigger the piece, the more vibrant the color — into a spray bottle of water and allow the chalk to break down completely. Then you can spray the pieces of hair you want colored.
When you are ready to wash the color out of your hair, Edward counsels that you must shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo—I would recommend the brands the salons carrry and they swear by: Warren-Tricomi, Shu Uemura, Kerastase and L’Oreal Professionnel. And a conditioning treatment (ditto) is a must after you wash out the chalk; as this will also replenish the moisture that may get sucked out with the chalking. And the best thing about hair chalking is that it’s so ridiculously inexpensive! Edward actually uses sidewalk chalk you can find at stationary and art supply stores! How is that for recessionary beauty spending?
The color palette for spring 2012, from color authority Pantone, includes a plethora of fun, bright colors, as well as those that are more subdued for a more neutral look. “Color affects people’s moods so much. It’s something needed, it’s refreshing and people need to be refreshed,” says Teresa Paquin, makeup artist and owner of Anika Skincare & Makeup Studio. “Because of the trying times, consumers add color to their everyday lives, it brightens their moods. [Current color trends] are very wearable and are what people are needing.”
But as your mother always tell you; a little goes a long way. It’s best to choose your spot. You can use
neon eye shadow, neon lipstick, or neon lashes; but you shouldn’t wear them all at the same time. Again, choose your spot. Statement lips have been all the rage for the past few years now and they’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. Neon lips can be worn as a day or nighttime lipstick. However, if you’re new to bright colored lipsticks, you should maybe save it for a special night occasion. To pull off hot pink lips, cooler skin tones should pick a shade with blue undertones and warmer skin tones one with an orange or red undertone. Also, as this is such a bright—and specific—look; you should avoid a competing color blush or pick a neutral tone color. As for the bright blue, acid green and poisonous yellow lipsticks–again at Faster by Mark Fast show—and seen on other spring 2012 runways, it’s best to process with caution on that front. There’s really no casual chic or seamless way to pull off blue, yellow, or green lipstick. And you shouldn’t even try to do so.
Try ramping up the wow-factor to your eyes by coating them in colorful mascara. Play up your eyelids with a groovy eyeliner color and go electric glam with a rainbow-bright cat-eyed liner. Neon eye shadows can look elegant and gorgeous even around the eyes but you should just wear it properly. In order to look bright, but not vulgar while wearing neon eye shadow shades, you need to pair your favorite neon color with a natural or neutral one to get that perfect beauty balance. For example, you can apply a bit of blue eye shadow to the inner corners of your eyes and a neutral to the lid. This is not Halloween night. If you can’t or won’t apply a neon eye shadow shade, start your neon beauty experiments with a vivid liner color. Try pairing green, blue or purple liner colors on a clean face. It’s that clean palette face that will make your eyes pop like nothing else.
Not actually neon, but heavily blushed cheeks are among the hottest ways to wear bright makeup colors in
Spring/Summer 2012. That I-have-been-in-the-sun-all-day beauty cheek look, like we saw at Tracy Reese, Ann Sui and many others, can be a good example of how greatly neon beauty trend can work for cheeks. But remember the Golden Rule: Pick your spot and a little goes a long way.
Neon Sunglasses: The Return of a Classic
Neon sunglasses are an excellent way to bring back some old with the new, and are fully practical for shielding your eyes from the sun. What was once a relic of the past has now become a Must-Have for spring 2012. Vintage neon sunglasses are once again in the spotlight, with celebrities all over bringing back this old style. The appearance of neon sunglasses are very appealing, especially for those who are not too keen on going full-blown neon with their makeup, hair or summer wardrobe. The first originals were crafted by the designer eyewear company, Ray Ban. And their popularity grew once Hollywood celebrities started wearing them. Needless to say, the demand eventually became so great that everyone wanted one, but only the few who had the money could afford a real pair. The black market took up the slack when unauthorized replicas were manufactured and sold at street corner vendor carts on Canal Street in Chinatown, small shops and mass market merchandisers around the country.
Neon sunglasses are back and can be found at every price point from designer ($150 and above) to the cheap but fabulous version ($10 at the Dollar Store, General Dollar or Wal-Mart). With the help of the internet, it is very easy to find custom sunglasses of any color and style; and auction sites such as Ebay are extremely useful when trying to find a vintage pair of these glasses, especially genuine article form the 1980’s. Happy hunting!
Neon Nail Polish
So, you’re not sure if you’re ready for such a bold statement? Take a leap of faith anyways and be bold with your nail polish. Start out slow with
neon nail polish because no matter what you’re wearing, your nails will be—and has always been—your best accessory. Focus on these awesome colors as forecasted by Pantone: Tangerine Tango, Cabaret Hot Pink, Sodalite Blue, and Cockatoo. Essie Weingarten, in addition to being a super cool person (love her!), is also the Queen of Nail Polishes. The Essie nail polish line has more colors than you could ever use in your lifetime. And she’s always adding more. (I truly adore her Mani-cure for men.) For summer 2012, she has launched the Essie Poppy Razzi Summer 2012 Neon Nails Collection. Consisting of four eye-popping colors—Lights!, Action!, Camera! And Bazooka—the fabulous Miss Weingarten has yet another winning collection of colors on her hands. They are all really intense shades as neon nail polishes go, but they don’t overwhelm you and hit you over the head with their “neon-ness”. (Yes, I know that is not a real word!) The formula in all of these was pretty awesome as well. Although they tend to dry into a satin matte finish, they all have a bit of a jelly-like consistency and seem to be much more pigmented than a normal neon polish. This, of course, may make them a little thicker but that also make them easy to apply. As most beauty bloggers have reported and a friend told me (she was my tester), the Poppy Razzi Neon Nails Collection is a three-coater plus a sealant top coat.
Lights! is a bright pink that is brighter on your nails than in the bottle and my friend loves it best above all the others in the collection. Camera! is a beautiful reddish coral neon; Action! is a neon orange on the verge of tangerine and Bazooka is a red-toned orange. Either way, they are ideal for women looking to explore neon nail polish without becoming overpowered by the colors. Best of all, the collection is available everywhere although I can’t vouch for your finding all the colors in one place. At less than $10 a pop, this is an investment in your summer beauty regiment you will not regret.
(As a side note: According to Euromonitor International, In 2011, nail polish became the fastest-growing category in the global beauty market for three consecutive years. Last year, U.S. sales of nail polish climbed 31% to reach $778 million. Most importantly, the belief behind this growth was the increasing perception of nail polish, bypassing lipstick, as an affordable fashion accessory and a quick-fix morale booster for these tougher economic times.)
Neon Accessories for Women in Summer 2012
In accessorizing your outfit with a neon or bright color, it’s important to practice some restraint. When it
comes to jewelry, belts, etc., do not go beyond a maximum of two bold colors; say your all-black pants and top paired with bright colored bangles and a colorful belt. A little goes a long way, unless you are adding a bunch of different color bracelets or bangles. That’s always fun. We are going for balance here, not reminding people of a Christmas tree in in the middle of August. Neon accessories go especially well with your summer white outfits, as well as greys. You can incorporate neon into your professional workwear by pairing a dark or grey skirt suit with a yellow or cerulean blue chemise top, a la Sigourney Weaver in and Melanie Griffith in the movie, Working Girl. You are the height of fashion but still looking very professional.
Neon clutches and bags can bring new life to any outfit and can transition from day to night. Adding a bright orange or pink clutch to a somewhat earthbound ensemble adds immediate edge. Keep some accessories, neon or otherwise, in your desk draw so that you can go from office to dinner with the girls without having to go home to change. Another great way to go neon is add a neon-colored handbag like the Flouro from the Cambridge Satchel Company (http://www.cambridgesatchel.co.uk) from Britain. The Cambridge Satchel Company‘s Fluoro Bag ($149) first caused a commotion at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week’s Spring 2012 Shows when plenty of attendees showed up toting it around. (The company probably salted the earth by sending out numerous complimentary samples to a cross-section of the top female magazine editors and the top influential bloggers hoping that they will create a buzz. They were right.) However having said that, thanks to plenty of street style photographs circulating across the Internet, this British bag instantly became the It Bag for spring. With its vintage, Eton-esque, schoolboy messenger bag look, the Fluoro—short for “fluorescent”—comes in four attention-grabbing colors and is on-trend in the best possible way.
Neon! Photo Shoot Credits:
Photographed by: Cheryl Gorski| Photographer & Creative Director | 716-895-1689 | 716-903-0600 |
email@example.com | Also on Facebook specializing in: Fashion, head shots/modeling/acting, editorial, portraits, bands/CD Press Kits, corporate events, Web photography, runway
Styled by: Cheryl Gorski | Photographer & Creative Director | 716-895-1689 | 716-903-0600 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hair: Christiana Christiano, email@example.com
Makeup: Dani Weiser, Makeup Artist | www.hollywoodmakeupartist.net | 716-348-1239 | Make-up teacher, weddings, TV, film, print and SFX. Hollywood Sunless Tanning, for appointments. Website is www.hollywoodsunlesstanning.com
Set Production: Michael Merisola: Set Designer/Stylist & expert in Antiques/Modern Furniture: Owner of Coo Coo U 1478 Hertel Ave, Buffalo | 716-432-6216 | www.coocoou.com
Accessories/Props Stylist: Lucy Perrone-Mancuso: Prop Stylist|Owner of Moda Vintage, 1509 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, New York | 716-725-6636 | Specializing in accessories, antiques, jewelry, furnishings, buy & sell, and rental for motion pictures/films, and photo shoots.
Model Casting: Kimberly Cohen, Casting Director & model/actress for movies, plays, photography and films. firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: kmcohen, Facebook: Kimberly Cohen
Models: Zuri, Melissa
Clothing and Accessories Credits:
Zuri: Daisy Braid Headdress from Free People, Orange Neon Striped Shirt from Vanity, Lime
Neon Shorts from dELiA*s
Zuri: Mellon Chiffon Dress from Cache
Zuri: White Lace Dress from Free People
Zuri: Black Cotton “Love” Tank Top with multicolored neon studs accents from Marshalls, Skinny Lime Green Jeans from dELiA*s, Neon makeup from Urban Outfitters
Melissa: Orange Neon Striped Capped Sleeve Blouse & Spandex Neon Orange Skirt from H&M
Melissa: Lime Green Tube Top Bra & Orange Skinny Jeans from DELiA*s, Lime Green Neon Suede Peep toe Strappy Sandal from Charlotte Russe
Melissa: 70′s-inspired Tunic Gown from Cache, Frayed Fabric Headband from Free People
Additional Credits: Neon Makeup from Urban Outfitters, Neon Hairpieces from Sally’s Beauty Supply, Open Weave Headband from Free People, Chandelier Plastic Vintage Tulip Earrings from Moda Vintage. All Other Necklaces, Bracelets and Earrings from Moda Vintage