Banana yellow is fashion’s favourite new neutral

According to the experts at the Pantone Colour Institute, Classic Blue (less commonly known as Pantone 19-4052) is the shade of 2020.

The authority describes it as a “universal favourite” with “a reassuring presence instilling calm, confidence and connection” and “a solid and dependable hue we can always rely on”.

Soothing, yes. Exciting? No.

Hence why the hue has earned itself such alternative monikers as anti-anxiety blue.

Though while Pantone’s aim is to interpret the global mood through analysis of trend forecasts, political views, new technologies, travel destinations and interior design inspiration — to name but a few — fashion has other ideas about what shade will come to define the year. Namely, banana.

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Positioned on the colour spectrum somewhere between ivory and yellow, this soft, creamy hue offers a delicious alternative to the Classic Blue cocoon. Though it’s not without its own source of comfort. 

In contrast to zesty lemon or bright sunshine, banana is an unintimidating take on yellow — muted but not dull, sweet but not sickly and, crucially, off-kilter enough to seem considered.

“It’s our new neutral,” says Vanissa Antonious, former Harper’s Bazaar stylist and creative director of agenda-setting accessories brand Neous, which has introduced banana as its hero shoe shade this spring. “Much as khaki has been a transitional tone for many seasons, banana brings a fresh hue with added warmth.” Among its bunch of nine new styles — just in at stores including Net-A-Porter and Browns Fashion — are square-toe slingbacks and slouch ankle boots, along with T-bar strappy sandals and gathered leather flats.

Further proof of banana’s a-peel (sorry) can be found with a roster of fashion’s most buzzed about brands. Cecilie Bahnsen — the Copenhagen-based designer whose take on girlish grunge has made her the darling of the style set — is frankly bananas for the shade. Her spring showcase served as a homage to the hue, with the first look out on the catwalk the perfect banana-milkshake-flavoured confection in the form of a smocked linen cloqué dress.

The theme continues throughout her offering for this season and next, from textured plissé sundresses to quilted silk puff-sleeve tops all dipped in the hue.

Ethically-minded and achingly cool Kiwi export Maggie Marilyn also has a taste for the shade with stretch-rib slip skirts, knot-sleeve tops and open-back jersey mini dresses in a barely-there yellow hue she calls honey.

Hit nightwear-as-daywear label Sleeper, on the other hand, has dubbed the colour of its own banana-esque silk loungewear dress champagne, while the hue of Cos’s butter yellow repurposed cotton sweatshirt could just as easily pass for banana custard.

But while opinion on its name may be split, the shade looks particularly tasty paired with other delectable, good-enough-to-eat tones.

“I personally love to wear banana with cream and chocolate,” says Antonious. “It’s a beautiful soft pastel that brings a tonal warmth to these colder months.” Top banana.

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