Get ready for a bright and vivid season, because the spring/ summer 2020 color trends are here. After seeing a whole range of magnificent collections come out of New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks, we’ve identified the definitive colors of the season – and it’s not even autumn yet! Some of the spring 2020 color trends were identified by the Pantone Color Institute at LFW and NYFW, but others came to the forefront in Milan and Paris.
It was a season filled with warm and vivid reds and oranges, with names like Fiery Red and Flame Scarlet. Each one of these is memorable in its own right, ensuring a season of drama and excitement. All of these warm tones were calmed down by the presence of quite a few cooling blues, like Heritage Blue, Faded Denim, and a neutral named Blueberry.
If you find all of the loud and bright spring/ summer 2020 runway colors a little headache-inducing, you will probably prefer the few muted pastels like a pale yellow named Sunlight or the soft Pistachio green, or perhaps you’ll appreciate the copious neutrals that also made an impact, like Lark and Oyster Mushroom.
#1. Golden Season
The breakout metallic of the spring/ summer 2020 color trends is gold, a glamorous color that always garners attention. This season, designers did not shy from using this tone ostentatiously. We’re not talking about scarves or spring 2020 accessories – it was full-on gold, in the form of elaborate dresses and long jackets.
The most extravagant of all was the massive gold gown at Balenciaga, which was made of textured crinoline, with a large skirt silhouette and a massive bow at the back. The dramatic golds were broken up a bit at Saint Laurent, where a long crinoline skirt in gold was paired with a simple black tank top.
The Celine show closed with a ravishing gold dress in a ‘70s-inspired design that was covered in sparkly little appliqués.
#2. Fiery Red
True red is an essential part of every fashion week, so of course, we had some magnificent creations in fiery red on the runways this year. This balanced but vivid and dynamic red tone is one of the spring 2020 color trends that we expect every woman with flare to adopt.
For something fun and wearable, AWAKE delivered with breezy strapless dresses in fiery red, complete with a fun asymmetrical hemline. Only slightly more out there was a combination of feather-embellished satin trousers and blouse from Marques Almeida.
The color felt a little sinister and devilish on the Dilara Findikoglu runway, where it was used for lacy and slightly undone outfits worn by models wearing scary contacts.
#3. Flame Scarlet
Flame Scarlet is the more subdued red shade that we think will be many people’s preference for evening wear and red-carpet events. It is a true, neutral red that complements most skin tones beautifully and exudes confidence without being loud. Flame Scarlet intrigues, but it does not overwhelm.
At Ryan Roche, flowy dresses in Flame Scarlet felt simultaneously demure and confident, thanks to the powerful color of the simple cuts. At Prabal Gurung, dresses in Flame Scarlet were a bit more striking, with designs reminiscent of the ‘90s that showed a bit of skin and highlighted curves, which were embellished with voluminous shrug constructions.
#4. Flame Orange
This rich orange shade is saturated and bright. It has a lot of reddish tones in it, which made Pantone compare it to the colors you see in a sunset. Because of that, we think it’s one of the summer 2020 runway colors that would be great for the evening, and the designers agreed with us.
Christopher Kane presented a clubbier take on this color, with short flame orange dresses that were embellished with clear PVC panels and a few splashes of purple and blue, which actually emphasized the sunset effect.
Emilia Wickstead presented elegant silhouettes and ladylike dresses in Flame Orange, with billowy skirts and the kind of construction that does only good things to curves.
#5. Orange Peel
Orange might be a winter fruit, but the color itself is all summer sunshine and brightness. Orange Peel is the brighter orange of the summer 2020 colors, so it has a lot of yellow tones in it, and it seems like the perfect shade for fun daytime separates and summer dresses.
The designers at Staud understood this, presenting breezy, vacation-worthy dresses in this lively color. Tom Ford also made heavy use of this color, especially in separates like jackets and skirts.
Saffron is an amber-yellow shade named after one of the most expensive spices. It is an appetizing color that is extremely flattering on darker skin tones. It is warm and vivacious but never loud – a perfect shade for summer.
Flowy wrap dresses in Saffron on the Gabriela Hearst runway made us dream of Mediterranean vacations, especially because of the way the shade was paired with brown and white accessories. Saffron yarn was crocheted into a pant and jacket set at Rejina Pyo that was evocative of old Europe but with a revealing, modern twist.
#7. Cinnamon Stick
Cinnamon might be the flavor of autumn, but this spicy color worked its way with ease into the spring 2020 color trends. It’s a brown tone that holds quite a bit of red in it, making it far too vivid to act as a neutral. It pairs best with shades like coral and blush.
At Alexander Wang, Cinnamon Stick was the color of studious corduroy jackets worn over sparkly clubwear in a unique, contradictory look. On the sophisticated Victoria Beckham runway, we were happy to rest our eyes on flowy Cinnamon Stick dresses that will surely be a hit with a more upscale crowd.
#8. Bossa Nova
Like Cinnamon Stick, Bossa Nova is also a brown-red shade, although it’s heavier on the red, which lends it a wine-like quality. It’s one of those spring/ summer 2020 color trends that we think can be worn all year round.
The way it was used for long dresses with puffy sleeves at Emilia Wickstead helped add maturity to the overall look. Mary Katrantzou also presented dresses in Bossa Nova, which were constructed out of large swaths of fabric arranged into three-dimensional shapes.
#9. Rose Brown
Rose Brown is a subdued burgundy shade that made us feel comforted. It is a warm, grounded color that was especially popular for understated formal dresses.
At Sies Marjan, for example, it was used for a simple one-shoulder ankle-length dress that had a very draped silhouette, while billowy dresses at Richard Malone also looked luxurious and elegant. Halpern broke grounds, using sparkly Rose Brown beadwork to totally transform a pantsuit into a statement-making and red-carpet worthy outfit.
#10. Beetroot Purple
Not many people realize just how bright a color beetroot produces. This outrageous fuchsia is one of the most memorable summer 2020 color trends, thanks to its punchy intensity.
At Erdem, it was the color of choice for demure dresses with ruffled embellishments. It was a base shade for a fabric printed with lovely little flowers in Yellow Iris, another one of the season’s colors.
It was combined with feminine ruffles at Christian Siriano, as well, where it was the color of choice for a short A-line dress with puffy sleeves. Huishan Zhang echoed Erdem by pairing this color with florals in the form of a see-through dress worn over a bodysuit.
#11. Grape Compote
Sweet but mellow, Grape Compote is a deep purple that is cooling and calming to examine. It’s an easy choice for elegant dresses, but designers also loved it for oversized suits this season.
Prabal Gurung and House of Holland both sent models out on their runways in oversized blazers in this royal color. Grape Compote dresses were all about the draping. This was certainly the case for a shift dress with ruffle accents and a deep V-neck at Victoria Beckham, as well as for an off-the-shoulder dress presented by Marta Jakubowski.
#12. Lovely Lavender
We didn’t see as much purple in the spring/ summer 2020 runway colors as we had in previous years, but a few designers were still compelled by the beauty of a soft lavender. It’s a gorgeous, delicate color that feels more sophisticated than some of the pinks and blushes we’ve seen.
Natasha Zinko had a playful take on lavender, with a slightly oversized pair of overalls covered in a white floral print and a few embellishments that looked like paint splatters. It was all about lacy lavender at Preen, with models wearing what would have been fairly demure dresses if it wasn’t for their see-through nature.
Blossom was the baby pink of choice for the spring 2020 runway colors. It’s a delicate and feminine color that can easily feel sickly sweet, though most of the designers managed to make it new and exciting during the fashion month.
Pyer Moss turned it into something positively regal, by using a Blossom pink fabric to make the most gorgeous pleated dress, complete with a berthe adding drama to the shoulders.
At Zimmermann, the effect was both beachy and dapper, with models wearing a suit in blossom pink that consisted of high-waisted paperbag trousers and an oversized jacket worn over a swimsuit top.
#14. Coral Pink
Competing with Blossom for the most feminine of the spring 2020 color trends is Coral Pink, though it loses by a hair. This warm peachy-pink tone is sweet like a ripe, healthy fruit, and to us, it is a perfect fit for spring.
This color was also utilized in a way that was perfect for the season. Resplendent and voluminous dresses took up space while feeling airy at Area, while Christopher Kane presented light tulle dresses. At Staud, a midriff-baring, Coral Pink skirt and cropped blouse set made us long for a vacation in a sleepy beachside town.
Chloé presented a ‘70s-inspired take on this color, with a long, pleated skirt and blouse combination that had quite the retro flare.
#15. Blush Beauty
Blush Beauty is Coral Pink’s slightly darker and warmer sibling. The Pantone Color Institute describes it as an embracing color, and designers took heed, making marvelous creations that enveloped the body in this lovely shade.
Sharon Wauchob used this trendy color to present a long-sleeved feather dress that looked impossibly soft and welcoming. At Christopher Kane, a satin dress in Blush Beauty reflected light and appeared oh-so-opulent, despite the more severe accessories, which included a large black belt and a new take on gladiator sandals.
Delicate and soft, Sunlight is one of the few more subdued spring/ summer 2020 color trends. This lovely creamy yellow shade is a great choice for the hot seasons, because it fits into the warm color palette but also has a soothing effect.
It was a great color for the unique mini dresses as J.W. Anderson, which were knitted out of wool, but still looked summery thanks to their breathability. At Osman, it was the shade of choice for women’s suits with a loose but well-cinched cut. Lastly, the combination of a Sunlight tulle skirt with black boots and dark spring 2020 makeup at Molly Goddard made for an interesting contrast.
#17. Yellow Iris
Like Sunlight, Yellow Iris is also a very soft yellow, although where Sunlight leans towards orange, Yellow Iris almost leans towards green. It is a fresh yellow tone that is cheerful and calm at the same time.
It was an exquisite color for draped dresses, adding something playful to the glamorous designs. That was certainly the case for a strapless gown at Emilia Wickstead, as well as for a loose dress with deep V-neck at Victoria Beckham. At Preen, Yellow Iris felt sweet yet raunchy, used as it was for sheer ruffled dresses.
#18. Neon Green-Yellow
A screaming greenish-yellow neon shade was another one of the most in-your-face spring 2020 color trends. It’s not a color that will work with all skin tones, that’s for sure, but if you’re not afraid of a styling challenge then definitely give it a try.
On the Christopher Kane runway, we saw this shade used for fairly demure blouse designs. At Pushbutton, this color made a lot of sense for athleisure – it was a natural fit for spandex biker shorts, though on frilly collared tops it was a little odd.
Lastly, at Marques Almeida, we were presented with a variation on this shade in a slightly faded denim, which was less overwhelming to the eyes.
Though it is much darker than its namesake, Chive is a green you can taste. It is a deep, warm shade that is just a hair darker than an army green, but just as fierce.
Militarism wasn’t as big for spring as it had been in winter and autumn, so the examples we saw of Chive were actually very streetwear-inspired. Take for instance a shiny, long raincoat at 3.1 Phillip Lim, or the skirt and jacket combinations at Helmut Lang.
#20. Pistachio Green
Pistachio green is just as appetizing as Chive green, but a little lighter and flirtier. This light, warm green is as fresh as pistachio ice cream, and we think it’ll be a nice palate cleanser from all of the reds and oranges of the season.
Flirty is exactly what was in mind at Aliétte, with long, gossamer dresses covered in a playful pistachio-colored print of butterflies. The effect of this color was also airy and light at Ulla Johnson, with ruffled pistachio green dresses that had a bit of an old-timey tunic vibe.
Colors living in a space between green and blue had a forceful showing as part of the spring/ summer 2020 color trends, with Strom being the deepest of them all. This magnificent jewel tone is sophisticated and elegant – certainly one of the more adult colors from the season.
This was the vibe at Kate Spade, with skirt and blazer combinations that will be a great fit at any office. Separates ruled at Tibi, as well, in the form of cargo skirt and unique zipped-up blouse, paired with a pair of rain boots, giving the outfit a vibe that would fit well under the namesake of the color.
#22. Biscay Green
This green-heavy aqua color is very lively and cheerful, but it’s not frenetic the way the warm summer 2020 color trends are. It showed up in a wide range of collections, in every category and for every formality level imaginable.
For evening wear, there were some beautiful dresses in Biscay Green on the runways of Erdem and Christian Siriano. Victoria Beckham also presented dresses in this shade, but they were flowy and more vacation-appropriate.
If aqua office wear is what strikes your fancy, you will surely like the Biscay Green suits from Osman, while for streetwear we saw raincoats at Priscavera.
#23. Tanager Turquoise
Turquoise is a natural color for the warmer season. It’s blue enough to have the cooling effects of the ocean, but also green enough to feel like it evokes the liveliness of the plant world.
At Gucci, we couldn’t take our eyes off of a surprisingly modest Tanager Turquoise-colored dress embellished in the center with a wide stripe of sequins in another one of the spring/ summer 2020 runway colors – gold.
Natasha Zinko used Tanager Turquoise heavily in her collection, which felt totally fresh and cool. It was used for full-coverage jumpsuits as well as for clubby dresses and separates.
#24. Classic Blue
Blues were some of the most ubiquitous spring 2020 runway colors, perhaps offering a cooling response to the warming of the plant. Classic Blue is a deeper and more saturated true blue, like a sapphire gemstone, with a similar level of elegance.
Richard Malone relied on this shade to give a royal touch to his geometric evening wear creations, which consisted of fitted bodices and large, slightly misshapen skirts. At Prada, we were struck by the elegance of a Classic Blue suit worn with a matching hat and black blouse.
#25. Mosaic Blue
Mosaic Blue is a vivid and bright color that reminds us of the sky on the clearest, hottest days. This makes it a unique tone that isn’t quite as cooling as other blue shades.
There were many examples of it on the runway, including a lovely satin wrap dress with spaghetti straps (hello, ‘90s!) at Sies Marjan, and an all-leather ensemble at Staud that consisted of a short Mosaic Blue dress with a long Mosaic Blue jacket worn over it.
#26. Faded Denim
One of the more subdued of the summer 2020 color trends was Faded Denim, a gentle blue shade that is calming and easy on the eyes, to counter all of the extreme brights and vivids. Of course, there were many examples of this color in the form of actual denim, but other fabrics in Faded Denim blue were very compelling.
One example that made us do a double take was a pantsuit with a tucked-in jacket at Ports 1961 that really did look like it was made of denim at first glance. We also appreciated a long rain jacket in this soft blue shade at Zero + Maria Cornejo, which was paired with a matching pair of trousers.
#27. Heritage Blue
This vivid sky blue was a dominant shade all throughout the fashion month, leading the helm of cool tones to contrast all the warm ones. This blue has been described as “stable” and “traditional”, and we gotta admit that it is, truly a timeless shade with a bit of brightness.
At Preen, a ruffled dress in Heritage Blue caught our eye. It was made of a pleated fabric constructed in ruffled layers, with soft, ruffled shoulders. At Molly Goddard, it was all about the volume of tulle, with a feminine dress in Heritage Blue that exploded from under a darker jacket.
While Blueberry doesn’t exactly strike us as a neutral, since it’s a very complex dark blue tone, we still enjoyed its presence as one of the spring 2020 color trends. It is a deep tone, and as far as true blues go, it still has just a hint of green in it.
Our favorite iteration of it was as a ruffled, feminine dress at Osman. It’s a mature and sophisticated shade, so it added a weightiness to the garment. We also saw it used in a very sensible skirt suit at Victoria Beckham, and for dresses with side cut-outs at Deveaux.
#29. Navy Blazer
Navy Blazer is one of the most serious colors to come out of the spring/ summer 2020 color trends. It’s a blue so dark that it is nearly black, with just a bit of a gray cast, so it definitely counts as a neutral.
Oddly enough, multiple labels, including Chalayan and Oscar de la Renta, decided to craft slightly oversized dresses in this shape, which they tied up at the center with large ribbons.
We saw more elegant iterations of this shade in the form of long, belted dresses at Carolina Herrera, while at Self-Portrait it was super flirty as the color for a short, schoolboy-ish jumpsuit with big, puffy sleeves.
Purple grays are wonderfully flattering, especially for those with cool undertones, so we loved seeing it show up as one of the main neutrals in the spring 2020 runways colors.
Our favorite take on this color was a soft, flowy dress with a matching cape around the neck that we saw at Roksanda. We were also taken with a sleek ash gray suit at Alexander McQueen that was given a sexy touch in the form of two side cutouts.
#31. Oyster Mushroom
The lightest, coolest gray imaginable ended up being one of our favorite neutrals from the spring 2020 color trends. This shade can feel delicate or powerful depending on how it is combined, and it makes for a wonderful alternative to white.
Huishan Zhang relied on this shade to craft the slightly oversized cheongsam that opened the show, as well as feather-embellished dresses and pantsuits. We also saw a ton of flowy Oyster Mushroom dresses presented on the Roland Mouret runway.
#32. Cuban Sand
Cuban Sand seemed like a very fitting neutral for the summer 2020 color trends. It is a light, brownish tone with a creamy feel that will pair well with nearly any of the other trendy colors from the season.
This was one of the anchor colors in Victoria Beckham’s collection, fitting into the earthy ‘70s palette with a number of full outfits and separates. Naturally, there was also a lot of it at Burberry, as well, where trench coats are a core part of the brand’s identity.
Tan, light brown, or khaki – however you identify it, Lark is a surprising neutral for the season. It is fairly warm compared to similar shades from other seasons, so it was a good fit for hippie dresses just as much as it was for trench coats.
Lark appeared heavily at Dior, in the form of a full feathered gown as well as the base color for patterned jackets and short overalls. Coats in Lark showed up on a variety of runways, but at Simone Rocha they had a voluminous silhouette that we really enjoyed.
Dresses at Bevza and Proenza Schouler felt elegant but also a little bit ‘70s hippie because of the earthy color.
#34. Blanc de Blanc
When typical whites seem just too bright, Blanc de Blanc is the color to choose. It is an understated white that has just a bit of creaminess to it, which keeps it easy on the eyes but still as pure and light as more saturated white fabrics.
Long dresses in Blanc de Blanc had a demure feel on the runways of Molly Goddard and AWAKE. At Emilia Wickstead, a set consisting of high waisted trousers and a wide-sleeved crop top with collar in the creamy white shade felt like it was pushing boundaries.
#35. Brilliant White
Stark and striking, Brilliant White is a shade that looks demure, but can only be worn by the fearless. If you are the kind of ethereal woman who has never spilled coffee on herself or stumbled in mud, you will surely appreciate the whitest white that became the essential neutral of the spring/ summer 2020 color trends.
One iteration in this shade that we particularly enjoyed was the two dresses closing the Louis Vuitton show. The dresses had wrapped elements at the skirt, with voluminous sleeves, combining a demure feel with a touch of seriousness and maturity.
Other labels that decided to close their shows with Brilliant White included Miu Miu, where a series of easy-going white dresses and separates were the final punch before the show ended, and Alexander Wang with bright white streetwear.
Photos via Vogue