SS14 Colour Trend: Primary Colours

I am a painter. I live in a box of paints. Well, Joni, you better have red, blue and yellow in that box because Primary Colours are 2014’s answer to last year’s pastel boom. When people say ‘Primary Colours’, immediate connotations of school classrooms and artists’ palettes spring to mind. For those who are partial to a splash of colour in their lives, then you’re in luck. Forget mixed hues of purple and green, 2014 is all about going back to basics. And, there’s something for everybody with red, blue, orange and yellow dominating many designers’ collections.

However, this article does come with a warning. Whether you like him or loathe him, John Galliano’s recent collection features quite prominently in this piece. Not only did the collection show red, yellow and blue, but seems to have a rejuvenated aesthetic to it. You might struggle (you’re not alone) to accept the designer back into the fashion world and, for some, think he should be left to ‘sink or swim on his own’ (John-Michael O’Sullivan). But for the purposes of this article, the collection is a great example of primary colours and anchoring them with other trends for the upcoming season. So, if you’re able to forgive and forget, take a note out of Dior’s book and move on.

Painted In Red

This is, without question, my favourite primary colour. And while my body would prefer it if I didn’t wear skin-tight leather jeans, that doesn’t mean that those who can pull off Saint Laurent’s David Bowie-esque collection should stay clear of it. The sleek looks in this collection are great to pair with splashes of red for that rockstar look. For another daytime look, Frankie Morello’s playful collection features fun and quirky items which are easy to pair together for a jolly holiday with Mary; this shade of red, and a hat if you’re a ‘hat person’, is great with navy (another popular colour this year.)

primary red

Finally, if you’re thinking about something more formal, then these eye-catching suits, dark and light, from Versace and Moschino are a must have. This season, silk and satin-like materials are everywhere. And for an added bonus, these materials are light and easy to keep clean so you can stay cool this season with very little spring-cleaning required. Other designers featuring red include: Dolce & Gabbana and Parke&Ronen.


Like SS13, blue dominated SS14 collections once again. From bright blues (Kenzo, Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana) to more subtle hues (John Galliano), designers have also incorporated the colour with other trends – whether this has been with checks, stripes, or animal print. For the beach, 3.1 Phillip Lim’s surf-inspired looks are great when paired with white while comfortable with over-sized tops dominating the collection.

primary blue

On the other hand, Dolce & Gabbana drew inspiration from Sicilian mythology by casting a juxtaposition of textured linens and bright silks with their current looks. Other collections featuring blue include: Patrik Ervell, Dsquared2, Dior Homme and Giorgio Armani.

(Not so) Mellow Yellow

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you. Well, that may be, but yellow is also shining this season from Etro’s ‘Wild West’ collection to Versace and its urban scene. We will not forget Versace’s unforgettable baroque-dominated collections in previous seasons, but, in true style, Donatella took it to new heights by sporting a collection with urban edge. From this new wave urban scene to bold colours and hints of ‘80s influences, this collection is certainly a one for you fashion-forward fashionistas.

primary yellow

If you’d prefer to mix it up, re. old and new, then Carven’s throw-back to some of art’s most celebrated painters might be for you. Guillaume Henry said of his collection “I asked myself: What would Picasso wear in 2014?” With faded mustards and equally-faded greens, anchoring such colours together can provide a subtle, yet on trend, look. This will also freshen up your wardrobe if you’re fancying a change from brighter, head-to-toe primary shades.


If you want to try something else that’s a little different, why not try Walter van Beirendonck? You might not feel totally at home when you see this ‘Home Sweet Home’ collection, but this abstract collection might be for those who like to play with colour and style. Fendi also played around with some different looks this season with an assortment of fabrics and colours to give a sense of warmth to its summer collection. Other collections featuring yellow include: John Galliano and Burberry Prorsum.

Product Picks

patterned blend sweatercavendish in redchunky zipped cardigan

dane swim shortsberry skinny chinosreduced to clear

slub cotton shirtchunky knit sweaterkenzo pea coat

sunspel swim shortssnake effect trousersskinny suit trousers

dark yellow teestripe cotton vestarmani sweater

classic swim shortsjersey sweatpantsslim fit chinos

red derby shoestobias suede shoesrubberised sandals

Crayon Conclusions

Whether you choose one colour, or prefer colour blocking, something I like to call “lego blocking”, bright primary colours are all about having fun in the sun. And if bright and beautiful isn’t for you, try the subtle shades on the primary spectrum; they can be incorporated into any look from beach clothes to stylish tailored suit.