GC Magazine - Galleria Cavour

The history of the color Shocking Pink

26 July - 2023

La storia del colore Rosa Shocking

In the wake of the success of the film Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwing and charismatically interpreted by Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the shocking pink color has literally become the symbol of this summer: ubiquitous on design objects, fashion and furnishings. The same production designer of the film, Sarah Greenwoood, joking with the press, admitted that the world risked running out of pink paint due to the immense amount used for the construction of the set.

Dazzling, courageous, unscrupulous: even the fashion system has rediscovered the love for shocking pink, as demonstrated by both the collections of the most popular brands of the moment and the must haves resold in the Galleria Cavour boutiques by Moncler, K-way and, obviously, Versace which, with bags, dresses, shoes and scarves, was not by chance one of Margot Robbie‘s favorite brands during the promotional red carpets. Yet the story of shocking pink starts from afar.

Elsa Schiaparelli, already in the second half of the Thirties, decided to focus on this color for one of her most scandalous collections. Compared to the softer and more delicate shade, in vogue in those years, the designer decided to bring a more saturated, decisive, impudent shade to the catwalk. Schiaparelli declared that she was inspired by the colors of oriental silks and Peruvian sunsets. In the Parisian salons, however, many claimed that the stroke of genius was to be attributed to less exotic visions, or rather the enormous precious stone that a faithful customer of hers loved to show off on the most mundane occasions: the heiress Daisy Fellowes . Despite the oppressive and gloomy climate of the mid-1930s, the color was successfully accepted by the high society market, thanks also to the success of the house’s perfume, characterized by a shocking vial modeled on the image of the actress Mae West‘s torso. She was always another actress, then, to embody the essence of this shade and to restore its luster.

In fact, Marilyn Monroe‘s dress in the film “Gentlemen prefer blondes” remains unforgotten, later proposed also by Madonna in the legendary “Material Girl” video. Can a color become synonymous with emancipation? Over time, pink has become the color by definition of the female universe, this particular variation, however, is read by insiders as a symbol of audacity and rebellion because it is capable of breaking the mold and being unconventional. It is no coincidence that Lady Gaga chose this pink for the skirt of the glorious look sported at the White House, during the anthem sung for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

However, the designer who, most of all, made this color his own to the point of making it a trademark, was undoubtedly Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino thanks to his Pink PP collection: a bold choice, just like the tradition of this tint, which marks the abandonment of the historic “Valentino red” in favor of a new color scheme and a new era. The success of the collection, beloved by the stars, marks an indissoluble and immediately recognizable combination between this color and the Italian maison, once again leading this color to break another taboo: that of gender distinction. Thanks to this lucky intuition, Valentino begins to propose shocking pink also in the men’s collections, thus making it, once again, a revolutionary, breaking color, genetically destined to shock and conquer just like Elsa Schiaparelli did almost a hundred years ago: a written destiny in the DNA.