How to Wear the Head-to-Toe Yellow Runway Trend IRL

Coincidentally, I am wearing a yellow muumuu while I sit at my desk and write this story about wearing all-yellow.

Coincidentally, I wore a yellow top to work the day I styled the photoshoot for this story about wearing all-yellow.

Coincidentally, Rihanna just debuted a splashy all-yellow outfit (an oversize nylon shirt and cargo pants by Australian American designer Matthew Adams Dolan) in the music video for “Wild Thoughts.”

When I take a step back, though, these don’t look like coincidences — they look like proof that yellow really, truly is having “a moment,” to the extent that it’s thoroughly infiltrated my subconscious, not to mention my and Rihanna’s wardrobes.

Trends can be funny like that. They sneak up on you. It feels like an accident — charming, even — that you’re suddenly obsessed with a certain color/silhouette/hemline/accessory, when really it was not-so-accidentally orchestrated by a crew of visionary artists.

There’s a reason why designers have earned their right to a platform for doing what they do, and that reason becomes clear as day when you pause to think about how what they show on the runway trickles down to magazine editorials, to stores, to fast fashion, to the mood board that lives inside your brain, to your closet, to your body. It’s pretty breathtaking to consider.

This certainly isn’t yellow’s first moment of hype at the fashion industry trickle-down rodeo: Remember the frothy mustard dresses in Gerard Pipart’s Spring/Summer 1998 collection for Nina Ricci? Or Linda Evangelista emerging in that epic yellow ballgown for the final look of John Galliano’s 1995 collection? Or Michelle Williams in Vera Wang at the 2006 Oscars? Or Beyonce smashing fire hydrants in Roberto Cavalli last year? Or Mahershala Ali in that amazing, bright yellow-centric GQ editorial this past February?

There’s a scientific explanation for why we’re so compelled by it. Yellow is the most visible color in the color spectrum, which makes it the first color the human eye notices. That’s why yellow is often a sign of danger in nature, warning other animals not to mess around with bees or poisonous snakes. It’s also why, in our urban human world, yellow is often used to indicate caution — a warning, a hazard, a yellow light.

Yellow was a major player in the Spring/Summer 2017 collections, featured in particularly punchy doses at Creatures of Comfort, Rosie Assoulin, Emilio Pucci, Chloé, Dries van Noten, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Jason Wu, Thakoon, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Tibi and Sies Marjan — you know, just to name A FEW.

Not just yellow, though. Head-to-toe yellow. That’s what really fascinated me about this particular yellow moment, because more often than not we’re taught (or just inclined) to break up color when we’re getting dressed. Too much of one thing, and you’re suddenly a banana. Or a strawberry. Or a string bean.

I didn’t see a bunch of bananas, though. I saw the fruition of yellow’s previously untapped potential — a celebration of its unique capacity to dazzle.

That’s why I took on the challenge of styling an all-yellow shoot: to see if I could harness some of that dazzle and translate it into everyday outfits that didn’t make it look like a lemonade stand had exploded or something.

Taking cues from the runway, I played with different textures, pairing more dramatic silhouettes with a casual counterpart: a floor-sweeping Rosie Assoulin dress became deliciously wearable with beach-y, embroidered Vita Kin shorts underneath; Sally LaPointe’s obsessively cool lace-up corset pants looked practical yet spontaneous when paired with an H&M tank, pom-pom slides and a silk scarf; gold hoops and translucent sunglasses gave Mara Hoffman’s impeccable knit top and skirt a summer getaway vibe.

Those were my intentions, at least. What do you think? Would you ever wear all-yellow, or all any one color, for that matter? Tell me tell me tell me.

Modeled by Ese Otobo of MSA Models; follow Ese and MSA Models on Instagram @nappyese and @msamodels. Photos by Edith Young.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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