Why black really IS the new black: Forget post-pandemic brights. Suddenly, there’s only one colour the most stylish stars want to be seen in
It’s official: black is back. Not the faded ‘charcoal’ black of 2022 but black-black. Inky black. The sort of black that signals sophistication and drama. A full-body black that has been absent from catwalks and front rows and Instagram feeds for years.
It was everywhere at Balenciaga’s Ready-To-Wear Fall 2024 show held on Saturday in the sunshine of LA.
We’re talking Nicole Kidman in a black velvet coat dress, black witchy shoes, black gloves, black shades, black clutch bag, black tights… you get the idea.
Or fellow Hollywood actress Zooey Deschanel in black leggings, black tuxedo, black boots, black bag — the whole black works.
Never one to be over-shadowed, Nicola Peltz (alongside husband Brooklyn Beckham), Eva Longoria and Kendall Jenner also chose head-to-toe outfits in the deepest shade of black imaginable for their Balenciaga ‘moment’.
Sleek: Elizabeth Debicki wears Bottega Veneta at The Crown’s LA premiere
Barbie no more: Margot Robbie in Prada at last week’s Gotham Awards in New York
Ballroom: Jodie Turner-Smith in Christopher John Rogers at the Academy Museum Gala in LA this week
Suits you: Zooey Deschanel in Balenciaga on Saturday
Head-to-toe: Karlie Kloss in Schiaparelli at the Museum Gala
Polished: Nicole Kidman in Balenciaga at the label’s Fall 2024 show
Timeless: Kendall Jenner in a frock by Balenciaga in Beverly Hills
Statement bag, earrings and a ribbed turtle neck dress: Eva Longoria in Balenciaga
Sheer lace: Dua Lipa in Chanel at the the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 3
Cloaked in style: Olivia Wilde in Alexandre Vauthier at the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala
Glamour: Selena Gomez in Valentino at the Museum Gala
Over at the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala in LA the next day, it was a more dazzlingly sophisticated sea of black as everyone from Olivia Wilde, Selena Gomez and Karlie Kloss opted for dramatic jet black floor-sweeping gowns.
Even Margot Robbie, who has spent most of the year in Barbie Pink, opted for black dress, black cape and black gloves for last week’s Gotham Awards.
Of course, you could argue that black never went out of fashion, but looking back over the past few years the LBD (little black dress) has been replaced by the CTS (colourful trouser suit), while Instagram has more or less forced every aspiring ‘influencer’ to ditch black for the photogenic hues of millennial pink, Gen Z yellow and what’s known as ‘latte dressing’ — wearing all the hues that come in your morning brew.
On the catwalk the contrast has been stark. Post-pandemic designers vied with each other over who could put on the most colourful spectacle, culminating in Valentino’s seminal Pink Collection for Autumn/Winter 2022/23.
But this year, the major fashion houses from Dior to Givenchy, even the bling-loving Versace, have saturated their collections with black.
Mr and Mrs Matching: The Peltz-Beckhams, both in Balenciaga
Strapless: Sarah Silverman at the Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 3, 2023 in Los Angeles
Golden ticket: Olivia Colman in Roland Mouret at last week’s Wonka premiere in London
Model look: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Valentino at the British Fashion Awards last night
Plunging: Cara Delevingne in Del Core at the Gala in Los Angeles
Pin up: Amber Valletta in Alaia at the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Form fitting: Hailey Bieber at the Gala in Saint Laurent
Latex: Maya Jama in Atsuko Kudo at Vogue’s Forces For Change party last month
A-list: Taylor Swift wears Versace at the MTV Awards in September
Cut-out: Lily Allen in Philosophy at the Glamour Awards in October
Perhaps most tellingly, when former Celine creative director Phoebe Philo finally launched her own long-awaited first collection last month, it was dominated by contrasting textures of black.
Times are serious. And tough. They call for a hue that’s not only practical, but always looks far more expensive than it actually is — and black is that hue.
It’s dependable at a time when nothing else seems to be; it’s dramatic without feeling too ‘look at me’. Black is a friend to all body shapes and foe to the algorithms — it won’t make you stand out on social media. (But since no one seems to be bothered charting their Outfit of the Day any more, that’s no bad thing.)
There is no colour on Earth quite as wonderful as black. And, after all the raspberry pinks and neons and in-your-face logos that dominated wardrobes and catwalks post-Covid, it seems right that the fashion pendulum has swung back once again to the colour that, as Coco Chanel herself said, ‘has it all’.
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