Neon chic

Neon nuances are becoming ever more apt for sophisticated situations. Here’s how to take neon from beach to garden party.

There’s no doubt that a blast of neon looks great on the beach or on the street – but in more sophisticated situations? You’d be surprised. For example, the kind of architectural cocktail dresses you’d normally see in graphic black look even better in shocking pink or neon-sign yellow. Just ask Preen, who showed the shout-out shades on short sheaths against a fluorescent light display this season.

If that’s too bold, then enlist the help of sheer or soft fabrics to knock the hard edges off. Nicole and Michael Colovos at Helmut Lang did just that, using white panels to line their electric-pink shifts – a nod to the original designer’s influential 1990s looks. Young London designer Barbara Casasola offered similar sophistication with transparent tailored separates.

Softer still, how about a muted outfit amped up with a jolt of acid lime? That’s how Thomas Tait elevated his signature techno-chic pieces. Stitch a neon marabou collar to last summer’s cream shift, and you’ll have a cheap-chic version that’s one of a kind.

If all else fails, there’s help at hand, or rather at heel, from the shoe designers. Sharp-edged flats and toothpick heels in screaming pink, orange and green from brands such as Sophia Webster and Jimmy Choo add a sweet/sour twist to elegant neutrals, and they’ll surely be hitting the high streets soon.

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