Forget Acid House, This Is The Contemporary Way To Wear Neon

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed Kim Kardashian West go from beige-clad walking Yeezy model to a vision in glowing neon. Whether she’s attending Kylie’s birthday in a luminous pink cutaway dress or hitting up 2 Chainz's wedding in a lime latex number, KKW is making it known that her new aesthetic is all about the #radiation.
She’s not alone, though. The catwalks of SS18 were flooded with neon hues in all shades, from lurid green and poisonous yellow through to hyperreal pink. Neon has been present in our collective cultural consciousness since Andy Warhol’s 1966 screenprinted self-portraits, and was everywhere during the acid house scene of the '90s – so what differentiates the current trend from its past?
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Foto: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Ashley Williams Spring/Summer 2018
Foto: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
MSGM Spring/Summer 2018
The clothes worn by Manchester's 24 Hour Party People bring a certain aesthetic to mind: think DJ Danny Rampling’s smiley, bucket hats, dungarees, and slogan T-shirts reading 'Have A Nice Trip'. As the sartorial choice of gurning ravers, neon directly reflected the acid they were dropping and the glow sticks they were waving. Then, of course, nu rave – the Klaxons-led wave of music in the mid 2000s which saw indie kids nationwide don neon leggings and whistles – revived the garish glow.
Foto: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2018
Foto: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2018
But for 2018, neon feels less (ahem) offensive and more wearable than ever. The vibrancy has been toned down and used for feminine and casual styles that could legitimately be introduced to your wardrobe. Ashley Williams’ show saw models wearing slouched pastel hoodies and tracksuit bottoms, with green neon text reading 'Parli Inglese?' adding an electric flash, while Marta Jakubowski sent a thoroughly ‘80s frilled neon pink swimsuit down the catwalk, inspiring our summer swimwear.
Photo: Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images
Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images
MSGM cleverly layered checked coats over peekaboo neon green turtlenecks, Miu Miu kept it to accessories with vivid tangerine socks paired with sober work trousers and stiletto heels, while Stella McCartney’s electric pink trousers were given a casual refresh with stone denim jackets. The trick here? Avoid head-to-toe looks and go for a shot of neon via accessories or jewellery to enliven your get-up. Attico founder Gilda Ambrosio nailed it at Men’s Fashion Week in Milan with an oversized clutch, while Tiffany Hsu brought out the neon check in Burberry’s trench coat with her neon sock boots. Zing!
Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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