If the New Nudes — clothing and accessories in that sensuous spectrum of barely-there shades of palest pink, gentle peach, milky latte, creamy toffee, an almost lemony shade reminiscent of unsalted French butter, and something one might uncharitably call “beige” –– are genuinely having a moment for spring/summer 2010, it really isn’t a second too soon.
In fact, they have been predicted as a key look for so long, we ought really to be calling them the “Old Nudes”.
Those who closely follow trends will have seen “new nudes” crop up in the fashion pages since at least spring 2006, when “nude” was a key part of the colour palette for a slew of top designers across the fashion capitals — Milan, Paris, New York and London.
Yet despite the patronage of such stellar names as Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, Phillip Lim, Proenza Schouler, Stella McCartney and Chloé, this mouthwateringly pale palette — so deliciously flattering to so many complexions and hinting at sensuous 1930s lingerie — didn’t ever really take off in a big way. Or at least, not until now when these shades are suddenly available at every part of the price spectrum, from high street and mid-range labels all the way up to Christopher Bailey at Burberry Prorsum, who sent a series of yummily pale-toned dresses, skirts and trenchcoats down the runway at his S/S 10 show, Donna Karan, who made the trend look infinitely wearable for a less ingénue clientele, Gianfranco Ferre who produced delicate draped dresses and featherlight evening coats in the shade and Hannah MacGibbon at Chloé who took a slew of mouthwateringly pale, delicately structured pieces and layered them immaculately.
The on-trend way to do nudes is to pile on several layers in subtly different shades, lengths and fabrics to create textural and tonal interest, and avoid the flatness that can result from “beige”.
Where to find nude tones
Jackets and cardis
If you want to splash out, Browns (www.brownsfashion.com) has a classically beautiful, long, nude-tone knit coat by Lala Berlin at £510, as well as a slouchy nude-tone boyfriend cotton and cashmere cardi by Acne at £190. James Lakeland’s spring collection features a gorgeously demure summer coat in a very nude parchment shade at £399 (www.jameslakeland.net), while Fenwick W1 has a wool-silk mix V-neck cardi with embellished pockets by Schumacher at £239.
Tara Jarmon has done a double-breasted boyfriend blazer at £319 and a zip-front bomber jacket, £299, in barely-there pink, both at Fenwick. On the high street, All Saints has a pale, studded leather biker jacket (£395); Karen Millen has a pale, washed-leather gilet at £250; Oasis has nude-tone skinny blazer at £85; Topshop has two nude-tone blazers, one with sleeves gathered to look pushed up, £60, and a skinny, shrunken one at £55; and Dorothy Perkins has a nude cardi with bracelet-length sleeve at £25.
Tops and vests
For the next-to-the-skin layer, vests — ideally racer-back vests — are an important part of this story. At the pricier end of the spectrum, Browns has a sublime silk tank in nude by The Row (£175) and a roll-sleeved long T-shirt by Acne at £65, while Reiss has a nude, lace T-shirt at £59 which taps into the daytime lace trend, too. Oasis has a satin trim vest in nude at £15 and Topshop has a drop-arm sheer vest in nude at £10. For a streamlined layer, Wolford has a series of basic or statement bodies in a gorgeously flattering pale toffee.
Trousers, shorts, skirts
Slouchy, turn-up shorts and cropped trousers are the natural bottom halves for this “nude” vibe, though wide-leg or sailor trousers can add a dash of laid-back glamour. Browns has shorts in a jacquard square fabric by Balenciaga at £195, as well as skinny jodhpurs in nude by Etro at £315.
Tara Jarmon has crop skinny trousers in barely-there pink (£159) at Fenwick, which also has nude drape trousers by Schumacher at £259, while Oasis has very on-trend cropped trousers at £45.
For a more feminine vibe (and for all those who can’t yet get to grips with the season’s new trouser shapes), Wolford’s body-con skirt with zip in nude is the perfect option, and knee-length, too. If you prefer a mini, Almost Famous has a pretty scallop hem skirt in nude, £60 at House of Fraser, which also has a chiffon drape skirt in nude at £30.
If you love the colour, but hate pulling the components together, there are some great dresses in nude, including a divine lacey shift by Beija, £249, at Fenwick; a sleeveless wrap dress by Pied a Terre (£140 at House of Fraser) and, at Topshop, a tea dress with cornelli embroidery trim, £48; a body-skimming basket-weave vest dress, £35, and a pretty satin dress with lace trim, £45, which also taps into the underwear as outerwear trend.
Nude is a great alternative neutral for spring accessories, too. Nude, putty, palest pink and parchment look subtle and on-trend with navy, and are a fresh way to accessorise black.
Faith has high, strappy platforms (£75) and a pretty, bow-trim flat at £34, while Dorothy Perkins has a high ankle-strap sandal (£35) that is perfect with cropped trousers, and Reiss has a woven-trim shoe-boot in nude at £169. A barely-there pink snake-skin clutch by Angel Jackson is perfect for dressier occasions, while Topshop’s pale leather tassel bag is the definitive daytime bag to tone immaculately with your pale layers.