Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color

Image of Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color
Release Date: 
September 4, 2018
Thames & Hudson
Reviewed by: 

“Pink is etherealized red . . . the true color of love.” —Margaret Story, 1930

Any seasoned fashion reader knows from the get go that a book authored by Valerie Steele is going to be overflowing with facts (known and little known), extensively researched, almost professorial in tone. All of these aspects are both reason enough to read or not read this book depending on what one’s expectations might be. Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color was a constant stream of historical information that had never previously passed before these eyes.

“The colour flashed in front of my eyes, bright, impossible, impudent, becoming, life giving, like all the light and the birds and the fish in the world together, a colour of China and Peru but not of the west—a shocking colour, pure and undiluted.” —Elsa Schiaparelli

Ms. Steele is unquestionably a brilliant author in terms of the expansiveness with which she addresses any of her chosen topics; in this case it is the color pink. Again, Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color is a chronologically fact laden monograph that borders on pedantic, but yet if the reader takes it in controlled doses, there is so much  to be learned and gained, even enjoyed,  by its reading. To say that Ms. Steele enlightens the readers is to say that grass is green; she ceaselessly provides information that, with reasonable assumption that is unknown to at least 90% of the readers who will attempt to get through this monograph. The strange thing about the book is that it is a relatively dry read and yet it captures the reader’s curiosity.

To give you an example of how the color is dissected and applied, Ms. Steele speaks of pink in terms of established norms, sexuality, racism, fashion, fine art, geography, politics, and even movies and music. To say that there has been no stone unturned is once again an understatement as to the depths with which this chronicle has been so intensely researched and dissected for the reader.

Let’s say it would not be a stretch of the imagination to retitle this book Pink: Everything and Anything You Might Possibly Want to or Need to Know and More.