Trends » Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends

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I’m excited to share our first trend report, covering the fall 2020 color trends from all of the major fashion weeks! Pantone had already released their fall/ winter color trends forecasts after New York and London Fashion Weeks, but with Paris and Milan now also over, we have a more comprehensive understanding of what the hottest colors will be.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends

When Pantone released its colors, the heavy focus was on timeless, staple shades, like Classic Blue, Samba, and Almond Oil. These colors are not boring, but instead, they are wearable classics that don’t go out of style and can be incorporated into nearly any wardrobe. It’s a color shift that fits in well with a movement away from fast fashion towards long-lasting, well-thought-out wardrobes.

Fall/ Winter 2020 Color Trends: Reds and Oranges

#1. Mandarin Red

We’re starting with high energy! While most of the fall 2020 color trends are quite sober, mandarin red is a lively contrast. This bright, warm red was described by Pantone as “provocative,” to which we say that we wouldn’t want bright red any other way!

At Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, provocative was absolutely the first word to come to mind with a patent leather trench coat in mandarin red that gave us serious Soviet femme fatale spy vibes. 

Mandarin red was also striking as the color to close the Chalayan show, first with models wearing flowy, cleverly cut and draped red dresses, followed by dresses with panels of both red and black. And for something a little different, we appreciated seeing the lively shade used for a blazer and trousers combo at Burberry.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Mandarin Red

#2. Samba

Unlike mandarin red, samba was a little more mature. It still has the sex appeal that is so inherent to reds but with a sultry vibe thanks to its darkness and depth.

Adut Akech was a vision of sophistication at Michael Kors in a samba-colored outfit consisting of a button-up dress with a pleated skirt, a ribbon at the collar, and topped with a matching blazer. At Versace, samba-colored jackets, coats, and blazers covered in a houndstooth pattern gave us some serious ‘80s power suit vibes. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Samba Red

#3. Fired Brick

This powerful deep red tone was described by Pantone as “adding gravitas.” It’s another timeless, mature shade for a season of staples, though we find that it still holds a small touch of glamour about it.

There was heavy use of fired brick leather at Salvatore Ferragamo, where the material was used for jackets, trousers, and even a pair of overalls. The color was used in a softer way at Marques’Almeida, where we loved a fully knit and cozy look featuring a shawl and flowy trousers.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Fired Brick Red

#4. Burnt Henna

The warmth and earthiness of burnt henna make it a perfectly comforting addition to the fall/ winter 2020 color trends. It’s a deep shade that works particularly well for outerwear, especially in leather, suede, and other autumnal natural materials.

That’s exactly how it was used at Longchamp, where a model in burnt henna suede overalls looked cozy yet chic. There were multiple examples of burnt henna at Sportmax, but our favorite was a velvet skirt suit paired with thigh-high leather boots complete with a ruffled blouse and ribbon at the collar. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Burnt Henna

#5. Exuberance

We always need a good orange to get us in the mood for autumn, and exuberance is a truly lovely one. It’s a warm and rich orange with a bit of depth. It’s happy without being overly bright or in your face, and it brings to mind the best fall delicacies.

There were multiple glamorous dresses in exuberance at Carolina Herrera, with our favorite being one worn by Hannah Motler that had extra ruffles at the top and a relatively demure, ‘50s-style skirt and hemline.

For Proenza Schouler, Gigi Hadid wore a boxy, long orange coat, which, paired with slightly volumized but damp swept-back hair, gave us some serious ‘80s nostalgia. We saw a few voluminous dresses in this joyful shade at Brandon Maxwell, as well.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Exuberance Orange

#6. Amberglow

Whereas exuberance is deep and appetizing, amberglow is a little lighter with more yellow undertones. It interjects a bit of summer’s excitement, and according to Pantone, it even promotes self-expression!

The outrageous Moschino runway included an amberglow orange bodysuit with long sleeves that had a modern-meets-Marie Antoinette vibe with sweetheart neckline and ribbons at the shoulders as well as a zipper and a belted waist.

The Marni show was also quite unusual and also happened to feature amberglow, albeit in a very different way: a model wore a long tweed jacket in the shade over a short black dress made of a latex or PVC material.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Amberglow Orange

Fall/ Winter 2020 Color Trends: Metallics

#7. Gold

The glamour of gold is way over the top, the kind of color reserved for a special type of person and only at special events. Touches of gold are never an issue, of course, but for the fall/ winter 2020-2021 color trends, we’re talking about statement-making all-over gold garments.

Take, for instance, the show-closer at Ashish: a long and slinky dress totally covered in gold sequins and topped with a matching sequined robe with a fastening at the neck. There was a fetching combination of gold and black at Celine, with a girlish long-sleeved pleated dress that had a ribbon tied into a bow at the collar and a waist-cinching belt.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Metallic Gold

#8. Silver

All that glitters isn’t always gold – sometimes it’s silver. If you like the bling but don’t care for the ostentation of gold, all of the silver garments we spotted in the fall 2020 runway colors might be more to your liking.

The Versace show closed on a silvery note, with a structured hourglass-shaped mini dress (worn by the one and only Kendall Jenner) totally covered in glitzy chainmail with a crystal band trim. At Badgley Mischka, a slinky silver wrap dress felt a little more subdued with a loose, flowy design and long sleeves.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Metallic Silver

Fall/ Winter 2020 Color Trends: Pinks and Purples

#9. Peach Nougat

Peach nougat is very soft and feminine, but it’s also reserved in a way that is very mature rather than childish. Pantone emphasizes its maternal and nurturing qualities, so you can think of it as one of those fall/ winter 2020 color trends that will care for you during the cold, harsh seasons.

Peach nougat was charmingly bohemian at Chloé, with a model wearing a long and loose, high-necked dress in the shade, with a darker lace decoration at the bottom and flowy ribbons elegantly framing the shoulders. We also saw a surprising amount of peach nougat on the Alexander McQueen runway, including a particularly lovely quilted coat. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Peach Nougat

#10. Rose Tan

Calm is a great way to describe many of the fall/ winter 2020 color trends, rose tan amongst them. This dusty pink is serious and composed, and since it is truly a neutral, it can be extremely flattering to all.

At Gucci, a rose tan dress was a total showstopper, made of glamorous tulle that was ruched and ruffled, with a voluminous skirt just a touch of black lace adding a dark contrast. There were a couple of rose tan garments at Oscar de la Renta, but once again, it was a gown that stole our heart. The dress had a balloon skirt shorter at the front and floor-length at the back, with a high neckline and gorgeous bejeweled floral design.  

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Rose Tan

#11. Magenta Purple

Magenta purple was my personal favorite of the fall 2020 color trends – a warm, deep purple tone that exudes glamour and royalty but also holds intrigue, and even a touch of danger. 

We saw head-to-toe magenta purple at Richard Malone in a ‘70s-inspired outfit featuring a cushy jacket, flared trousers, and a crinkly blouse. On an extra-glamorous note, Christian Cowan presented sparkly magenta purple dresses to close his show. The dresses had an ‘80s feel thanks to the metallic fabric they were made out of. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Magenta Purple

Fall/ Winter 2020 Color Trends: Blues

#12. Classic Blue

Blues took over the fall 2020 runway colors, with classic blue being a major stand out as Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020. It’s a deep but vivid blue that is extremely versatile, and while it still exudes the calm inherent to blue shades, it’s also rich with possibility.

At Oscar de la Renta, a classic blue gown with a crinkled balloon skirt and a slightly asymmetrical sweetheart neckline drew our attention. At Monse, it was all about casual fall looks, with a model rocking a wool coat, scarf, and even fishnets in the deep blue shade.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Classic Blue

#13. True Blue

True blue is a darker blue, sitting somewhere between the more vivid blues in the fall 2020 color trends and the deep, neutral navies. This cool, steady shade was described by Pantone as constant and faithful, so it definitely counts as a more sober color.

At Shrimps, this color was favored for big, fuzzy coats, like a fur-lined one worn over a hoodie and a long, ‘40s-inspired one with puffy sleeves and a rounded collar. We saw a lot of true blue at Kenzo, including a long, slightly shapeless turtleneck dress printed with the face of a tiger.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: True Blue

#14. Strong Blue

Strong blue is the brightest blue to come out of the fall/ winter 2020-2021 color trends, and it was used by designers in some really playful and creative ways, proving Pantone’s description of it as a confident color.

Some of our favorites included a multi-tiered and ruffled dress at Roksanda, a flirty bow-tied and large sleeved short dress made of satin at Halpern, and even a velvet pleated dress at Christophe Kane.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Strong Blue

#15. Powder Blue

For those who would rather keep things soft, powder blue could become a favorite fall 2020 runway color. Powder blue is as calming as other blue shades, but it’s also a little more innocent and youthful.

It’s a color that paired especially well with tulle, like a girlish dress that we saw on the Cinq a Sept runway. It was also a fitting color for sleepwear-inspired dresses at Collina Strada. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Powder Blue

#16. Dress Blues

Pantone classified this warm, dependable navy as a neutral, while it’s just a touch more saturated than most, it can still serve as a trusted backbone to any wardrobe. The designers who create garments for professionals made heavy use of it, making it one of the key fall 2020 color trends.

For example, Victoria Beckham made heavy use of dress blues, with trench coats, pantsuits, dresses, and even one particularly elegant draped jumpsuit. Slightly more glamorous was a velvet dress in dress blues at Etro, with a strapless design and a full, flowy skirt.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Dress Blues

#17. Blue Depths

Deep yet cool and saturated, blue depths is as vivid as a neutral navy can be, and it certainly brings to mind the ocean. Pantone heavily describes it as mysterious, which we think makes it a great shade to wear in the evening when you want to intrigue.

One way to do that is with a tight corduroy skirt like we saw at Off-White, which had a round cutout just over the thigh and was paired with just a sports bra. Another way to do it is with concealing, like the dramatic and romantic navy capes and coats we saw at Valentino.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Blue Depths

Fall/ Winter 2020 Color Trends: Greens and Yellows

#18. Ultramarine Green

This deep, vivid blue-green tone is classy but striking – Pantone describes it as exuding “self-assurance and poise,” and to us, it’s a color with a lot of sophistication and a bit of a daring streak.

We can’t resist head-to-toe garments in this shade, which is why we loved the comfy but figure-hugging jumpsuit at Emilia Wickstead that was presented with a matching trench coat.

For something a bit more romantic, Ulla Johnson crafted a stunning long-sleeved dress in ultramarine green decorated with old-timey puffed sleeves and a ruffled peplum. We also loved the more playful examples of ultramarine green in the fall 2020 prints that popped up at Dries Van Noten and Anna Sui.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Ultramarine Green

#19. Green Sheen

This loud, acid-yellow was one of the most vivid fall 2020 runway colors. It’s a warm, hungry color that really stood out against all the earthy and blue colors from this season.

This was certainly the case at Erdem where a pair of gloves and a cardigan weren’t bright enough to predict the coming of a satin dress and a massive quilted coat in green sheen that suddenly punched up the runway.

At Marine Serre, patches of green sheen fabric over a black dress made for an uplifting garment, especially since the model was holding the hand of a little girl in a similar but more green sheen-heavy dress.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Green Sheen

#20. Celery

Slightly less intense than its acid-leaning sibling, celery is also a greenish-yellow, albeit one that seems more closely related to the plant world. This is one of the more delicate fall 2020 Pantone colors, and we’re definitely fans.

The Marc Jacobs show opened with a celery-colored dress and long jacket combo. Both were made of what looked like soft wool and worn with a matching bandana, making for a flirty but cozy look. This color was also an opening hit at Chanel, with tweed skirt suits, long jackets, and even an autumnal tweed dress, all looking as chic as can be.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Celery

#21. Military Olive

I’m surprised just how here I am for military olive, but this semi-neutral absolutely won me over. This is a strong color that takes no prisoners, and wearing it will absolutely add a bit of weight to your step.

At Richard Malone, this color was actually utilized for a satin dress made of ruched panels, with internal boning giving a really unique architectural shape to the shoulder. The military vibes were strong at Tom Ford, on the other hand, with Kendall Jenner wearing a dress made of patchwork army green panels and a knitted military olive sweater topped with a suede bomber jacket.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Military Olive Green

#22. Pear Green

Vibrant, juicy and healthy, pear green stands somewhere between military olive and green sheen, making one of the brightest fall/ winter 2020-2021 color trends from the runways. It may be more appropriate for the summertime, yet pear green comes to brighten up your gloomy fall days.

Christian Siriano showed how elegant this cheerful color could be sending down a model wrapped in an asymmetric-shoulder floor-sweeping cocktail dress in pear green. Christian Cowan also used the shade for eveningwear, unveiling a sequined number with a single shoulder and skin-revealing bold cutouts.

Pear green looked kind of cozy at Bottega Veneta, used for an elongated button-up cardigan matched with a heavily fringed maxi skirt.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Pear Green

Fall/ Winter 2020 Color Trends: Neutrals

#23. Sheepskin

Fleecy and soft, sheepskin is a pale pinkish-camel hue that counted as one of the neutral fall 2020 color trends. This color is delicate and soft, bringing to mind luxurious cashmere or cozy fleece, though it also gives off an innocent touch in satin.

At Alexander McQueen, a pretty sheepskin dress with some suggestive cutouts at the ribs was given a punk twist with some gunmetal chain body jewelry.

The Rodarte show ended with a couple of demure sheepskin dresses – the first ruched at the top and decorated with fabric floral appliqués at the bottom, and the second one (which closed the show) made of satin and covered in a light blue floral print. We also saw a lot of sheepskin at the Antonio Marras show, especially in dresses.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Sheepskin Camel

#24. Sandstone

Warm and sandy, this lovely shade injects the fall/ winter 2020-21 color trends with a bit of comforting lightness. It’s a gentle shade that would fly under the radar in a spring collection, but for the cold seasons, it ends up being quite impactful.

Jacquemus made use of this shade for a long yet tight knitted dress with short sleeves and a polo collar. At Miu Miu, the color felt cheerful in the form of a long, knitted coat that had large tortoiseshell buttons and a rounded collar, which gave it vintage vibes.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Sandstone

#25. Tawny Birch

This rosy tan shade is very nearly neutral, with a woodsy feel but distinct feminine energy. To us, this color feels cozy, making it a great addition to the fall 2020 color trends.

Jonathan Anderson felt the same, releasing some truly comfy-looking knits in tawny birch for his J.W. Anderson collection. At Simone Rocha and Erdem, this color was ideal for trench coats, with a ribbon-decorated one presented at the former show and a pearl-embellished one at the latter.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Tawny Birch

#26. Toffee

Toffee is a rich and warm brown, like a deeper variation on sheepskin that is a perfect fit for any cold season. This fantastic neutral was especially popular for leather, like an oversized coat paired with matching trousers at Boss. We spotted another massive coat in toffee at Stella McCartney, albeit that one was made of faux leather.

Margaret Howell delivered boy scout fashion with a model in a toffee-colored button-up jumpsuit with knee-length trousers worn with long black socks and a loosened ribbon-tie.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Toffee

#27. Sleet

The winning gray for the season is a light-colored variation that leans very slightly towards cool, so it will work with all the other cool colors from the season. It’s a truly timeless shade, so any item you pick up this season in this color will still look chic even in a few decades.

We noticed that it was especially popular for trench coats, with some masculine, oversized numbers at Kenzo and high-femme coats with capes at Givenchy. Christopher Kane created satin and knitwear garments in sleet gray, with our personal favorite being a dress made of black and gray triangle patches. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Sleet Gray

#28. Asphalt Gray

If you prefer darker colors, you might love asphalt gray, which is deeper than sleet with a bit of a wicked streak. As with the softer gray shade, this darker gray was also very popular for coats and capes. 

The color was extremely ubiquitous on the Fendi runway, with an impressively severe fitted dress with oversized sleeves helping to open the show and leading the way for multiple jackets and dresses that followed.

Altuzarra also opened his show with asphalt gray, with a long trench coat with a nearly off-the-shoulder collar cinched tightly at the waist as well as a pantsuit with a similar neckline.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Asphalt Gray

#29. Jet Stream

There was no room for pure, stark whites in the fall/ winter 2020 color trends. However, jet stream, a gray-tinged off-white shade was extremely ubiquitous.

Molly Goddard, known for her voluminous silhouettes, styled a wedding dress-worthy wrapped jet stream dress with a gray beanie, making for a very memorable look.

At Jacquemus, jet stream-colored linen dresses hugged the curves of the Hadid sisters, and definitely fit in with the narrative Pantone told of this color, which they see fitting in with all things “raw and recycled.” Notably, this was the first time that Jacquemus was able to truly concentrate on eco-friendly materials, thanks to the label’s increased buying power.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Jet Stream White

#30. Almond Oil

Almond oil was the second off-white shade to take over the runways, but unlike jet stream, it leans towards warm. It’s tasteful and tasty, a natural, soft, and appetizing shade that feels buttery, but since it’s almond-inspired, it’s also totally vegan.

It was almost too fitting as the color of choice for a rustic, billowy dress at Tory Burch. The vibe was similar though a bit more youthful at Cynthia Rowley, with a simple velvet dress that fell just below the knee in a shift silhouette with puffed sleeves.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Almond Oil Off-White

#31. Black

Maybe it’s cheating to talk about black like it’s a fall 2020 color trend because black is a true ever-fashionable staple, but there was just so much black on the runways this season that we couldn’t ignore it, and not just from usually black-loving labels like Saint Laurent, but also from designers that usually give us a lot of colors.

For example, we were surprised by how much black ruled on the usually ostentatious Dolce & Gabbana runway, with a series of casual, punk-inspired looks. Even Valentino opened with a series of all-black outfits (primarily elegant coats and dresses), which felt a little funereal. Finally, at Balenciaga, models of all genders wore large, black robes largely inspired by Orthodox priests. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Color Trends: Black

Photos via Vogue