When you hear the term “color block” referring to fashion, the iconic shift dress by Yves Saint Laurent comes to mind. He proved color blocking could be not only eye-catching, but chic.
The “sack dress” transformed into the “shift” in the 1960s. That’s when Saint Laurent decided that the simplicity of the dress was an ideal field for color blocks. Taking note of color blocks in the 1960s in paintings by contemporary artists such as Mondrian, Saint Laurent made the color-block dress of wool jersey for his fall 1965 collection. The dress has been copied at every price point, and variations of it show up time and time again in both fall and spring collections of well-known designers and in mass-manufactured goods. And the YSL label continues to have color-blocked dresses in many collections, including the ones in stores now.
There have been changes to bring the trend up to date.
“We’ve seen it before, but it’s fresher because of the new mixes of color, the unusual blends that just work,” said Lisa Marvin at Aspen Boutique, 4724 E. Douglas. “And every age can wear it.”
Diana Schmidt at K-Lane’s, 600 S. Tyler Road, said her customers are liking the color-block look.
“But it doesn’t have to have already been done for you in a color-blocked dress or top. It’s fun to combine unexpected colors. For example, we like to take a bright coral tank top and put a royal blue cropped top over it. You can even add a bright color in the shorts or skirt you wear with two bright tops,” Schmidt said.
At Nouveau in Bradley Fair, 21st and Rock, Cindy Hershberger said the bright colors of spring have been well received by customers. Showing a turquoise top and orange skirt with turquoise reptile-print belt, Hershberger said, “And we’re mixing all these bright colors for a color-block look.”
Also at Nouveau are several examples of color blocking.
“It’s also in jewelry,” Hershberger said. “Some pieces are color-blocked, but you can also wear multiple strands of bright beads.”
Accessories are truly the answer if you want just a touch of the trend. Shoes and sandals, jewelry and handbags in all sizes and shapes are color-blocked to add a trendy look to any outfit.
“Color blocking is an easy way to take part in the bright colors of spring and summer without doing a crazy print,” said Brooke Hebert of Pink Saloon, 4730 E. Douglas.