The iconic Vogue fashion editor Diana Vreeland once said, “Red is the great clarifier — bright, cleansing, revealing.”

She pursued the color she described as a child’s cap in a Renaissance portrait and believed that boredom with it would be like becoming tired of the person you love

Loading the player...

Vreeland, known as the Oscar Wilde of fashion, demanded that Park Avenue interior designer Billy Baldwin create a living room to “look like a garden, but a garden in hell.” 

She wanted it to match the scarlet of her lips and nails and the rouge paint brush markings on her cheeks.

It was 1955, and the legendary editor saw the future power of the color. She lived its I-am-here quality — because there is no doubt where one stands with Red.

The color that makes eyes travel

Vreeland was right — as she was about most things. Remember her mantra — “the eye has to travel?” With Red, the eye travels and burns its retina with the color. 

The tincture of passion, desire, and revolution has always graced the catwalk, but last year the fashion industry threw Red over for Pink; it went mental with the color, like Pepto Bismol on steroids.   

Valentino Pink, officially named Pink PP, or facsimile of, dominated the catwalk. Conjured up by Italian fashion designer Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, it was impossible not to think of Pink.  

Hot pink, Bubble Gum pink, and Barbie pink — think Meghan Traynor in “Made You Look.”

Not anymore. 

During New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2023, Red stepped up and escorted Pink off the stage

Usually, the fall colors on the catwalk and in the streets of New York, London, and Madrid are rich burgundy, deep plum, burnt olive, brown, strict gray, or subdued beige. Not so for 2023. 

The catwalk popped with tomato bisque Red, Cherry Red, crimson chinoiserie Red, vermilion, Spanish scarlet, orangey coral Red, and the deep burgundy of Buddhist monks’ robes — the color of the sacred realm. 

Designers like Sandy Liang had puffer jackets and matching trousers in the same color; Proenza Schouler put it in a buttery, soft leather one would just die to wear, and Prabal Gurung’s fall 2023 collection worked bursts of the color on the clothes, and the model’s looks. 

So, is Red the new Pink? 

Rihanna certainly thinks so (and that is a grade-A stamp of approval!)

Riri Red had a massive platform during Rihanna’s Super Bowl half-time appearance with a Ferrari red Loewe tailored outfit cocooning her pregnancy, chunky red Maison Margiela sneakers, and a custom-made floor-sweeping Alaïa puffer coat — an ode to fashion icon Andre Leon Talley.

Red also graced the Oscars “champagne” carpet with Cara Delevingne wearing Elie Saab Haute Couture in a fire engine you-can’t-miss-me hue.  

New York Fashion might have re-discovered Red for this fall and winter, but Latinas have always paid homage to the power of the color. 

For Latinas, this color has been our voice of rebellion

As Latinas, we are told it’s best to be quiet and keep to the background. Calling too much attention to ourselves risks being branded as demanding and challenging.   

But, with Red, we fight back; it’s our empowerment color.  

Worn by Frida Khalo, Selena Quintanilla, Celia Cruz, Dolores del Rio, and the signature lipstick of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, it represents resistance and femininity. 

Red is the color of La Doña — Mexican actress Maria Felix — who famously said that an intelligent woman doesn’t get sad; she gets pretty. 

Or as Ocasio-Cortez told Elle: “Any attempt to make femininity trivial or unimportant is an attempt to take away my power. So I’m going to wear the red lipstick.” 

AOC, I agree. So, I’ll walk out the door with Red lipstick, Red shoes, and a knock-off Riri Red jumpsuit because I can’t afford the original.