Purple always makes me think of Jenny Joseph's poem 'Warning' ("When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me/And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves/And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter").
This is both good and bad. Only a bloodless misanthrope could fail to appreciate the righteousness of the narrator's future self. On the other hand, the poem illustrates purple's primary problem: wacky people. These Funtime Frankies might have hearts of gold, but when it comes to fashion, they possess the reverse Midas touch – there isn't a look they can't ruin. Not ones for nuance, wacky people favour clothes that say: "Hey!! Guys!!! It's time to have an awesome time!!!! LOLZ!11!" which they wear while saying the same thing out loud and pointing to the garment in question.
Interestingly, after a number of years have passed, clothes wacky people have ruined can be rehabilitated when trendy people appropriate them ironically. It works like this: trendy people don a previously wacky item with a dollop of irony and an acutely unimpressed attitude, and go to an achingly cool party where they pout a lot and look like they'd rather be somewhere else. This is, of course, the exact opposite of the wackster (who always arrives at parties early wearing a novelty hat and doing thumbs aloft before the front door opens). Think of a mid-70s Top of the Pops presenter (not that one; this is supposed to be fun). Chances are Noel Edmonds is now in your mind's eye. Dungarees, facial hair, a novelty knit. He's basically dressed for a night out in east London in 40 years' time.
My point is: purple is back (so are dungarees, but I'm planning to break that to you gently next spring). The colour of prog and Prince's G-string is fit for a king once more (royals of antiquity favoured Tyrian purple, made from porphyry – the shellfish whose classical name is the root of the colour's). The autumn/winter runways were coloured purple – Louis Vuitton's show even began with models disembarking from a purple steam train, rumoured to cost $8m. Mercifully the trend has hit the high street at more affordable prices. Here is my pick of the patch.
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