Pastels first burst onto the menswear scene in the mid-1980s, thanks to iconic TV cop show Miami Vice. Detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs paired their suits with tees and loafers, donning dreamy pastels from top to toe. Soft shapes and lightweight linens mimicked the glamorous catwalks of high-end Italian labels Armani and Versace.
These designs were fiercely contemporary, marking a seriously stylish departure from the black-suit-and-white-shirt norms of the time. With designer brands embracing the look, pastel mania gripped mainstream fashion. Kenneth Cole created Crockett and Tubbs shoes, while Hackett captured the imagination of the dapper British gent with pastel-coloured polo shirts in the mid-1990s. Sober and tailored made way for playful and relaxed, thanks to the crime-fighting Miami Vice duo.
The SS13 collection by Agi & Sam referenced 80s style with softly tailored separates in a palette of chalky hues and floral prints. Meanwhile, Hackett’s affinity for lighter tones is as strong as ever. The label’s SS13 show took the trend in a distinctly stiff-upper-lip direction, sending models out in creamy three-piece suits. At Gucci SS17 the attitude remained fresh and youthful, with sugary satin suits rich in detailed embroidery dominating the catwalk.
Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan rocks smart pastel shirts and stonewashed jeans off set, while Prince Harry impresses in powdery cashmere sweaters and suits. Take cues from these style icons in your off-duty outfits and smart dinner party looks.
Today, pastels remain as effortlessly striking as they are laid-back. Adopt an equally relaxed approach to incorporating the trend into your wardrobe – go all out in head-to-toe pastel or mix with darker shades for an understated take. Whichever direction you choose to go in, you’ll be enjoying la dolce vita.
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