Summer hasn’t even properly kicked off yet (well, not in London) and yet colour blocking has already been covered in almost every magazine and blog across the globe. The Daily Mail even blamed Cheryl Cole’s horrendous attempt at colour blocking for negatively affecting the sales of similar items of clothing online, ouch! As one of the key trends from the SS11 runways, all those many months ago, we wanted to see whether the enthusiasm for the bold trend is staying strong or if all the initial enthusiasm is waning.
Back in September most of the collections that featured colour blocking on the runways were received with acclaim. Prada’s bold striped collection landed a whopping 48 magazine covers this season, while Raf Simons for Jil Sander’s collection sold quickly on Net-a-Porter. Even Mrs Obama herself was spotted in a Marc by Marc Jacobs Simone dress (from the designers SS11 runway collection) which proceeded to sell out on Net-a-Porter, Bloomingdales and Shopbop.
In some ways, it is a tricky trend to track in a retail sense – because it’s often all about how you style up individual pieces. We can, however measure opinions towards the trend, as shown in the graph below. We can see a peak in September 2010 when the SS11 collections were shown, followed by a very clear and steady increase in the number of people talking about colour blocking across social media. Opinions towards the trend have been steady and positive since early February.
Designers who have incorporated colour blocking into individual garments have cashed in. bebe created a maxi colour block dress featuring geometric panels of colour. By capitalizing on two key trends for the season, bebe’s $29.95 dress sold out in two colour ways across all sizes in 10 days. A more luxurious structured colour block cotton jersey shift dress by Bally, which sold for £495 managed to restock into Net-a-Porter 12 times across 5 sizes before going out of stock completely.
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The verdict is, don’t switch to monochrome just yet, it looks like there is a bright future ahead for colourful clashing.