London Isn’t Gray Anymore

I never tire of trend-spotting in London. But no matter how many days I set aside for retail reconnaissance, I always wish for just one more.

While taking in the retail landscape last month, it didn’t take long to notice the absence of gray. I don’t mean that gray disappeared from assortments altogether. Instead, gray was a no-show in windows and in up-front displays featuring new collections. This was the case in smaller apparel shops, larger department stores and home stores. And the lack of gray was apparent in every possible material, including textiles, leather and suede, ceramic, plastic, wood, painted metal and more.

In place of gray, browns of all types had moved into the spotlight. This happened concurrently with a shift toward warmer color stories that set the stage for fall across London.

Browns ranged from light beige and incoming (and recommended) mid-tone camel to darker acorn and fox. They came in solid colors and in stripes, florals, whimsical designs and still-on-trend animal-skin patterns. Brown teamed with golden yellows, warm reds, new mauves, petrols and greens as well as it did with off-whites and black.

The range of brown options seen in London confirmed not only the versatility of this colorful neutral, but also its potential for 2017 and 2018 assortments.