King’s College London student Faye Fearon celebrates the enduring appeal of an all-black outfit – whatever the season.
Spring is upon us and, in adherence, the streets of London seem even more chaotic than usual as we feel overpoweringly urged to reflect the season in our wardrobes and dress according to its conventions. With explosions of bright colour and surges of dramatic print, spring sparks increased visibility of more obviously abstract fashion, which, in the age of minimalist clothing, no longer serves to be quite as impactful as it once was. Cue the Miranda Priestly reaction: “Florals? For spring? Ground-breaking.”
I took a walk through Notting Hill last week and, despite the usual madness of Portobello Road, I noticed the streets were infused with blossoming beauty. Each year, I wait for the days when those perfect pastel pink blossom trees bloom throughout the city, opening up when the clouds begin to lift and the days get longer and warmer. I find that I appreciate nature so strongly during spring that, unlike most, I prefer not to attempt to mimic it through my clothes. As I walk around London, I see a constant flurry of women passing by like popsicles, which may be pleasant, but is not as innovative as one might think. Many are overcome with the desire to experiment with versatile pieces, but run the risk of looking more like fashion victims. In Notting Hill, while the brightly dressed rushed around the buzzing antiques market, I suddenly smiled as I spotted the rare woman who had chosen not to conform – a woman in black.
Black. It’s the colour that bestows elegance on the female figure, the colour that signals intellectualism, that indicates a woman’s charm is more than her clothing. It’s a colour that will never be dated; whatever the fashion industry declares to be the look du jour, nothing will ever be the ‘new black’ – not even orange. Some may ask, ‘Is it too easy? Is it just convenient?’ Perhaps. Nonetheless, it remains timeless. It demonstrates a level of sophistication and independence, especially when it stands alone in a sea of splashing pattern and colour. In the age where we can so easily gain an insight into someone’s lifestyle through social media, if a woman is dressed in black, she retains an air of mystery. Black is one of the rare mainstays of fashion that doesn’t conform to a season, a time or a trend. It’s quite miraculous, but somehow it can be placed in any setting and still look incredibly good. Despite the block colour buildings, budding blossoms and a pattern absorbed crowd, the woman in black was the thing that stood out on Portobello Road. She’s an icon of fashion, who will forever serve to epitomise endless shades of style.
So, as we settle into spring, instead of settling on dressing to fit with the flowers of our surroundings, may we instead perhaps honour the starkest statement of all: black.
Photography: Aline Aronsky