You guys, it just can’t have been that long ago. Honestly, it feels like neon’s last blindsiding moment was only yesterday.
But, apparently it was circa 2011. I know this because I was working as a magazine stylist at the time and, well, let’s just say I enthusiastically Got. On. Board. I ended up well on my way to traffic cone-chic. But, sue me, I love a fun, wearable trend. At first, the look dropped mainly in US high street stores which I (and our whole office) ordered with abandon. We paid the outrageous early-2000s online shipping costs and repped the look ad nauseam. This is how it went: neon chinos (pink or orange, cuffs rolled) worn with a classic French blue and white striped Breton tee. Not sure what you’d call this style…what’s the French word for glow-stick?
The storm that was neon came in fast and furious. It lashed its force and overpowered fashion followers. Then, as quickly as it arrived, it evaporated, leaving behind a trail of pink, orange and yellow highlighter garb in its wake. One day we were forking out $50 shipping (yes, $50), the next we were packing it into the “store” box and out into the garage.
Well, by the grace of Blake Lively, I now have a reason to reopen up that tub because neon is making a comeback. She of many sartorial goals, Lively, kicked things off when she flaunted a wild, neon-lime Versace ensemble during her recent string of suity outings in New York. So I guess we have her to…thank? Blame? And Rosie Huntington-Whitely followed suit (literally) just yesterday wearing a pink suit from Versace’s menswear collection to their Milan show.
At the Emmys Regina King and Tatiana Maslany both wore Christian Siriano looks in matching illuminated yellow, while direct from the SS19 international fashion weeks, designers have been dropping high-fashion hi-vis by the dozens. In addition to Versace, ateliers of Blumarine, Emporio Armani and Prabal Gurung have also been busy crafting neon-glam and it’s bringing back all the buzzing feels.
This time round Bretons have been traded for snake and leopard prints, caramel leathers and classic plaids. It’s a jarring trend so giving it a tone down through neutral partners makes it 2018/19-fresh. Styles are eclectic too, from Versace’s sharp suiting to Christopher Kane’s delicious knitwear to Brandon Maxwell’s elegant gowns to Blumarine’s Jane Fonda-era spandex to Tibi’s simple accessories, the look can be as all-consuming or subtle as you want it to be.
So how did my era of literal radiance end last time? Let’s just say I got a reality check while wearing my favourite highlighter-yellow mohair sweater on a photo shoot. When the famous surfer I was styling arrived, she squealed and joyfully remarked that I looked like a giant furry tennis ball.
But despite all this, will I get on board again this time? With the promise of fewer tennis-ball jumpers and cheaper shipping…you bet your hot pink pants I will.
Brandon Maxwell open-back velvet gown, $5011 from net-a-porter SHOP NOW
Zara Ribbed Turtleneck sweater, $45.95 Shop now
Topshop neon-stitched jacket, $106 SHOP NOW
Christopher Kane cashmere sweater dress $1470 from net-a-porter SHOP NOW
Tibi leather belt, $268 from Shopbop, SHOP NOW
About Us valentina dress, $101, from Revolve SHOP NOW