Moodboard: This Month The Mood Is Feminine - The Gloss Magazine

Moodboard: This Month The Mood Is Feminine

‘Red’s vibration is as dangerous as pink’s is safe,’ says Susan Zelouf …

I love a hot pink as much as any other brainy aspiring bombshell who dreams of lucky dipping from a thrilling capsule wardrobe, equal parts Dries and Diesel, De La Renta and Donatella, Miuccia and McQueen. But in a moment when human rights are under attack (the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US Supreme Court limits a woman’s right to choose, turning the clock back 50 years), aren’t we done with girlish pink, from blush to spanked arse, chilled rosé to hot flush, bubblegum to receding gums?

Fiery red, on the other hand, a provocative pigment, equal parts Devil and Cupid, attracts carnal love, the light of its long wavelength warming us in the coil of its provocative embrace, while warning us of imminent threat. Red’s vibration is as dangerous as pink’s is safe, as voracious as pink is peckish. Exposure to the colour red, emblematic of the heart, elevates blood pressure, quickens metabolism, increases respiration rate and stimulates appetite – there’s a reason dining rooms have traditionally been painted red.

Red dominates AW23 fashion, redefining femininity in a power move, from Ferragamo’s wasp-waisted red wool gabardine trouser suit to the drenched crimson drape of Proenza Schouler’s strapless Empire-waist lambskin maxi dress. Red accessories add colour to sober wardrobes, punctuating strictly tailored black coats (outerwear as New York as a Nathan’s hot dog), from pointed pumps in Valentino red to Paula Rowan’s ultra-feminine Montserrat silk-lined red leather opera gloves. Whether or not politics makes us see red, wearing it is one way of integrating more assertive, wilful, action-oriented masculine energy into the archetypically receptive, creative, intuitive energy of the feminine. Chromosome assignment (two Xs in females, an X and a Y in males) may be overly simplistic in determining sex as we settle into our more gender-fluid selves but, setting biology aside, women still struggle with defining femininity, wrangling with competing work and home lives, mutinous bodies, the mysteries of sexuality, the demands of motherhood and the treachery of ageing.

“Sometimes you gotta be a beauty and a beast.” Nicki Minaj

Every now and then, fashion appears to come to grips with the tension inherent in a woman’s desire to express her femininity without sacrificing personhood. Elsa Schiaparelli boldly went where Miuccia Prada followed. Coco Chanel undid the corset; Vivienne Westwood plundered it. Donna Karan gave us essentials we lived in (opaque tights, anyone?), and still refuse to live without, while Alexander McQueen’s exquisitely tailored, storied pieces chronicled our secret histories, outliving his own.

The return of one divine feminine principle this season is the hourglass silhouette; no matter a woman’s size, it’s all about the shape – take yours back, then, get to work playing. Ruched, belted, buttoned, knotted, laced up, it’s a cinch. Pair slouchy sportswear from Max Mara with a mile-wide belt and suck it in for Italian film star va-va-voom. Waist not, want not, in a body-sculpting jacket with strong shoulders, making nipped-in even nippier. Track down a Yayoi-inspired polka dot pin-up dress; try Hearts & Roses in the Retro Shop, George’s Street Arcade in Dublin 2, and get ready for female trouble. Invest in a deftly folded Roland Mouret cocktail dress to trick the eye; with that kind of liquid draping, you’ll swear you’ve had one hourglass too many. @susanzelouf

1. I’M MAKING a point in Prada red leather logo pumps.

2. I’M TURNING scarlet in Dame Viv’s draped satin Cora Nova gown, from the nebula-inspired Vivienne Westwood 2023 made-to-order bridal collection.

3. I’M SAVING my skin in a Valentino Garavani canvas-jacquard bucket hat.

4. I’M GETTING red-dy for autumn in Celine Eyewear Triomphe 01 sunnies from

5. I’M WAISTING no time wearing saggy sweats; it’s hourglass o’clock in an ALAÏA leather corset belt, from a selection at

6. I’M SMOKING hot in a Ferragamo flame-red, crystal-encrusted Wanda mini bag.

7. I’M TAKING no lip in iconic 999 Forever Dior red ultra-pigmented, transfer-proof matte liquid lipstick. Visit the Dior counter at Brown Thomas for an expert demo.

8. I’M NIP/TUCKING in a Marilyninspired camel sheath dress (with couture silk taffeta bow and saucy slit) from Max Mara Pre-Fall 23.

9. I’M KISSING it better in a Little Kisses recycled silver enamelled band. £175 at

10. I’M STALKING for this sold-out Proenza Schouler number.

11. I’M LISTENING to The Slits’ Viv Albertine’s vivid punk memoir via

12. I’M BOOKING in for a colour consultation with gifted chromologist Olha Kelly. Will she suggest Little Greene’s Theatre Red for our kitchen? @frauolhakelly.

13. I’M DABBING pulse points with Kilian Rose Oud, at Brown Thomas


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