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Hot Pink Suits: Why Kerry Washington, Ashley Graham and Amy Schumer Are Wearing Them

  • October 29, 2020

After all, the reclamation of pink as a power color also took off about four years ago, thanks to the first Woman’s March with its pink pussy hats. They brightly, craftily, transformed a shade historically associated with fragility and sweetness — the blushing bride, a baby’s shell-pink ear, the “rosy-fingered Dawn” — and often deployed to diminish women. There’s a reason that when Elsa Schiaparelli decided to make an in-your-face pink her signature, she named it “shocking.”

Nancy Pelosi adopted the same tactics when she wore a hot pink dress to her swearing in as speaker of the House in 2019, standing out like a beacon of femininity amid the men in their dark suits. The Fashion Institute of Technology recognized the shift with an entire exhibition devoted to the color and its myriad messages in 2018.

“The thesis is, ‘I’m going to show up, and you are going to see me,’” Ms. Christeson said.

That is, unquestionably, a worthy idea. The intention is good. And increasingly color blocs have become popular forms of protest, be it the yellow vests in France, the wall of moms in yellow or the antifa in black. They are ways to convey a message without a message tee.

Unlike those movements, however, and unlike the last time clothing became part of election semiology, when it emerged organically from the cultural moment, the pink suit has a commercial tinge. The color had not transcended the form. And that’s where things get tricky.

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