What we can learn about color from creative direction in fashion

Examples of brands that have mastered the art of storytelling in color palettes

July 3, 2020

4 mins

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The application of fashion as a form of aesthetic expression is a notion familiar to many. Every day, we curate ourselves with inspiration from rising trends, a perception of our personal preferences, and regards to practicality in the context of our environments.

This relationship we form between body and material in response to time and place juxtaposes many different factors — undoubtedly, color as one of the most prominent elements. In the world of fashion, brands have strategically mastered color in not only showcasing how it can be used to reflect our inner selves, but also the image we hope to portray to others.

Vogue India

In a cover issue starring Radhika Nair and Saffron Vadher, Vogue India brilliantly evoked themes of royalty from an incredible color palette displayed in both attire and setting.

Channeling major Wes Anderson vibes, the accompanying photos showcase how the magazine was able to build a luxurious tone from its usage of pastels, bold pigments, and golden hues. While the dresses and accessories sported enough of an extravagant tone on their own, the ornamentation of the surroundings amplified the underlying lavish themes further.

Cold Laundry

A London based contemporary brand, Cold Laundry was born out of a desire to provide streetwear and minimalist fans contemporary quality clothing without sacrificing ethics. The brand is built on consciousness and kindness towards the planet, giving consumers a guilt-free conscious in a world dominated by fast fashion clothing brands.

“We wanted to break the negative stigma attached to fast fashion by consciously making decisions to say no to unfair trade practices making our manufacturing process as clean and earth-friendly as possible.”

These values are clearly embodied in the creative direction — every Instagram post has a surreal, serene backdrop with matching tones in the model’s clothing. As a viewer, one’s automatically grasped by the peaceful aura of the natural gradients of the sky and scenery. The clothing, careful in not detracting attention away from the rest of the image, blends in with the delicate color palette to create a beautiful juxtaposition.


Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of CHANEL, debuted his 2018 spring/summer collection in a self-installed French garden in the Grand Palais. With imported white and pink flowers and luscious greens covering the entirety of the set, he created an airy environment that set the tone for his debut designs —elegant haute couture creations including an end-of-show wedding piece.

Lagerfield’s strategy in enveloping audiences in a green estate further pushed the trope of a peaceful, romantic atmosphere. Additionally, his consistency in the use of a soft, natural toned color palette is seen across florals on set to the accessories and dresses the models were wearing on the runway.

By examining these various fashion brands more closely, I hope you feel more inspired to tastefully use color in your own creative projects.