Fashion has always favoured red as the colour of love and romance

My love is like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June :

My love is like the melody

That’s sweetly played in tune.

Written way back in the 16th century, these lines by Robert Burns express the eternal connection of love and the colour red. Almost like a match made in heaven. Followed at a great distance by pink, red is the colour of the heart and is closely associated with romantic love. Which is why the red ruby is considered the stone of love and red flowers the symbol of romance.

Red’s supremacy can be traced to its exclusivity in the fashion world too. Remember Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face walking down the steps of the Louvre wearing a breathtaking red silk gown by Givenchy? Or Julia Roberts’ jaw-dropping red silk gown in Pretty Woman? Or Valentino’s signature red dresses that always stay central to the collection no matter what the colour trends for the season may be. If the little black dress is integral to every woman’s wardrobe, so is that one red dress.

So what is it about the deep hue that makes everyone’s hearts melt. As Delhi-based designer Gautam Gupta says, “Red signifies passion, energy and flamboyance — all three are essential in a relation of love. Agrees stylist and designer Pernia Qureshi, “No other colour comes close when it comes to embodying love.”

Red finds its roots in various cultures and traditions across the world. The Chinese have worn red kimonos since time immemorial for their customary ceremonies, and for Indian brides, it is almost always the colour of choice. “Women wear red for their weddings because it is a symbol of a married woman in our culture. However, women today are incorporating tradition through modern styles by using trendy hues in their wedding outfits,” says Qureshi. So there’s a lot of magenta, pink and orange — all part of the larger red family, though.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, red still rules. Dressing for V-day, therefore, can become quite tricky. As red takes over everyone’s minds, it becomes all the more difficult to get one’s outfit right. “It should be about staying true to your style, as much as it is about looking good for your date. So you should wear what suits your personal sense of style,” advises Quereshi.

There is a thing called “too much red”, she cautions, so don’t go overboard with the colour. “Since it is a strong colour, always keep one thing in red, and others should be in hues that are cohesive with red. So wear a red dress, but then wear accessories in neutral tones, or vice-versa,” says Qureshi. Another good idea is to wear neutral coloürs like black, nudes or white and add accessories with red detailing, she adds.

One needs to take extra care while dressing in red, warns Gupta. “A red trench coat over a neutral dress is one of the most classic V-Day dresses according to me.”

When it comes to jewellery, ruby is a stone of nobility, considered the most magnificent of all gems, the queen of stones and the stone of kings. Its metaphysical properties actively stimulate the base chakra, increasing vitality and chi, the life-force energy, throughout the physical body and into the spirit. Ruby has always been associated with love, especially faithful passionate commitment and closeness. In antiquity, rubies were considered to be perfect wedding stones.

Now for those who may not be huge fans of red, is there a substitute? “I feel there is no other colour that can rival red as the symbol of romance. But if red isn’t really your colour, you can always try other shades of red, such as the numerous hues of pink,” says Qureshi. So, whether you’re a fan of maroon (that denotes controlled and more thoughtful action); burgundy (which is more sophisticated and serious than true red); crimson (that has a little blue in it); or scarlet (with a little orange mixed with it) — take your pick this V-Day. As they say: “All you need is love,” and a bit of red!


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