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Color Blocking Reigns for FW2017 Womenswear
By Marcie Cooperman on Apr, 26 2017

An amazing situation exists now that has never before existed:  Women now have two completely different trend paths available in color and pattern for the very same season.

Of course, for FW2017 womenswear, many designers are on the same wavelength about color and pattern.  But now that some houses show menswear and womenswear together in one location at season’s start, a different trend path has arisen.  For those designers, the looks for men and women in one show follow parallel visual directives to communicate with each other on the runway, following trends seen in menswear.  And they are completely different trends from FW2017 womenswear.

Plaids and low intensity colors are a favorite for FW2017 menswear, as I reported in my last blog, and the accompanying women’s clothes also focus heavily on these colors.
But color trends for FW2017 womenswear shows are the opposite.  Let’s take a look.

This season, color blocking is it!  Large areas of high intensity primary and secondary hues hold the most excitement for designers, often in asymmetric color blocked areas, sometimes separate garments.  Blue is everywhere, most often with its complement orange, or with red and/or black.  Orange is shown in every hue and intensity.

In the cover image, Delpozo defines his shapes through hue, often one per garment, with orange the favorite.
Blue, black and orange are intense at 3.1 Phillip Lim, in its asymmetric blue and black puffer coat, the cropped top against 80s pants, and the orange coat. 

3.1 Phillip Lim3.1 Phillip Lim

Diane von Furstenberg balances her leather-like low intensity orange against sparkling intensely blue skirts. 

Diane von FurstenbergDiane von Furstenberg

Lacoste’s low intensity yellow-orange looks like leather against black leather.  Narciso Rodriguez prefers it with achromatic black, white and gray.


Narciso RodriguezNarciso Rodriguez

Coach’s orange stands out with its earth-toned brownish-orange hues in oversized skirts, or bomber and sweatshirt shapes.


The triad red, yellow and blue is a unique combination of hues, as each is totally different from the other.  Together they make a strong statement if all three are at their most intense.  But Thom Browne renders them into softened tints, lightened by contrast against achromatic grey, white and black.  In his explorations, each outcome is a unique suit with a fine sense of its own differentiation.  With two color-blocked exceptions, they are all small stripes or prints.

Thom BrowneThom Browne

Thom BrowneThom Browne

Red and blue look placid without fellow primary hue yellow, especially balanced against black in florals in Adam Selman’s line.  Diane von Furstenberg moves her florals into color blocked areas.  Altuzarra and Proenza Schouler prefer the red alone with black.

Adam SelmanAdam Selman

Diane von FurstenbergDiane von Furstenberg


Proenza SchoulerProenza Schouler

It’s amazing how each season can look so fresh compared to the ones before, even while adhering to current trends.  It’s even more amazing to see lines with incredible originality through their unique interpretation of the trends.  For them, trends are not a limitation but a suggestion of a fun idea.  And Fall2017 is full of fun.

Feel free to check out my textbook called Color: How to Use It by Marcie Cooperman, published by Pearson.

Color and how to use it