Finding Your Best Red, and Can You Own Too Many Rubies?

As a professional image consultant (I have earned my CIP designation from AICI, the Association of Image Consultants International), I often assist individuals by determining their best colors, including what we call in the business their “best reds.” One’s best reds may well include hues that one might not automatically think of as “red” at all. Depending upon one’s personal coloring, one’s most flattering shades of red might include anything from a bright “lipstick red” (typically a cool blue-red) to a warmer orange-red or coral, and might vary in intensity from palest pink to darkest burgundy.

A wide range of reds, including pink and coral as well as the primary color classic red, play important role in this season’s favored color palette. Dozens upon dozens of ensembles pictured in the fashion press feature red and its variations; in my post today, I’m focusing only on the numerous written comments about this family of hues. More than any of the other American fashion magazines, Harper’s Bazaar proves to be focused on the impact of red and all its variations this season.

In its October 2010 issue, the editors of Harper’s Bazaar proclaim their appreciation for the color red by urging its use by readers decades apart in age. For women in their thirties, the magazine encourages its readers to “work feel-good fashion into your wardrobe” and notes that, “Right now, it’s all about red. The brilliant hue is an instant showstopper, and you will be too.” Oddly enough, however, all the accessories and many of the garments shown on that page are black, including a cobalt blue ring from Solange Azagury-Partridge.

Harper’s Bazaar also suggests a touch of red for its readers sixty-plus years of age: “Take classic color combinations like black and white to the next level. Dashes of red make a grand statement.” Along with several garments that incorporate red, the magazine features a red bag by Pierre Hardy, a yellow gold necklace from Herve van der Straeten, textured earrings from Kara Ross New York, and a ring with a large red center stone from Faraone Mennella by R.F.M.A.S.

Continuing their focus on red, the Harper’s Bazaar editors suggest that readers “Opt for staples in bright primary red” as October 2010’s “best under $500.” Jewelry shown includes a faux-pearl necklace from J. Crew and a ring from Roger Vivier, neither of which, however, incorporates the color.

The very same October 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar advises that shades of pink, including fuchsia, raspberry, cerise and deep coral, provide the means for updating every woman’s look.  Along with a raspberry-colored bag by Lanvin and pale pink shoes from Derek Lam, the magazine features an elaborate bright-pink-accented bracelet from Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere, as well as a gold pendant necklace from Kim Kaufman Designs, noting that the “perfect finishing touch” is “a disk on a long, simple strand.” I note the converse: the design of the pendant shown is a relatively simple disk, but the chain itself is quite elaborate.

In September 2010, Harper’s Bazaar suggested that readers update their look: “Freshen up your wardrobe with pink, be it in a knit skirt, a gathered dress, or fun extras.” The poppy pinks shown include a purse from Bottega Veneta and a set of yellow gold pendant necklaces with bright pink gemstones from Talavera.

However, bright red receives top billing in the September 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar in a ten-page fashion spread entitled “Simply Red:  Rome, the Eternal City, radiates with glorious rouge fashions.” The look above combines a blouse and skirt by Lanvin with a clutch by VBH, pumps from Brian Atwood, and an elaborate bracelet with a large green accent from Iradj Moini.

In the same fashion spread is this close-up of a Valentino red dress accented with a coral-colored center stone goldtone ring from Kara by Kara Ross. This combination of red and color is unexpected and intriguing.

The September issue of Harper’s Bazaar also focuses on the color red in an accessories-focused feature. The model is shown wearing this season’s “it” color camel (see my September 23, 2010 post) accessorized with red bags, shoes and belt, and accented with yellow gold jewelry, including bracelets from Bottega Veneta and Celine, a watch by Chopard, and rings from Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Carla Amorim.

In August 2010, among its choices for “Buy Now, Love Forever,” Harper’s Bazaar suggested that readers “go wild in animal prints and red” and included this specific advice about jewelry: “Dazzle this season with rich ruby-hued cocktail rings.” The rings pictured are from Jude Frances Jewelry.

Lucky magazine’s September 2010 issue noted the “attention-hogging combination” of red and black which “channels the ‘80s with bright contrast and energy to spare.” Shown in both prints and combinations of solids, there are no accessories shown  except for a black strap Casio wristwatch and a pair of red and black shoes from Guess.

The September 2010 issue of InStyle magazine speaks more generally of jewel tones as a key trend: “Colors with an intensity that’s more saturated than sparkling work their magic: The stunning gem we see in front of us is you—not the suit, dress or gown.” In front of a tone-on-tone red look from Emilio Pucci, the editors comment: “Love it! Variations of intense hues act like facets, adding depth. Can you own too many rubies?”

A touch of red rubies will work for almost everyone’s coloring, perhaps in part because the stones draw from the natural color of blush in everyone’s face. Similarly, the color coral works for most complexions. Bright pink, pastel pink and deep blood red are not as universally flattering but can be exquisite when chosen appropriate to one’s personal coloring. Although yellow gold is strongly favored as the accompaniment for red fashions this season, white metals also work beautifully. Irrespective of fashion’s dictates, always wear what is most flattering to you.

I’ll end with an ad from de Grisogono running in the October 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, just to whet your appetite for red gemstones — these adorning earrings in the drop style popular this season, as I discussed in my September 6, 2010 post. Can you own too many rubies? I think not.