It was the yellow dress that did it. In War and Peace, when Prince Andrei Bolkonsky first catches sight of young Natasha Rostova, she is gadding about in a field wearing a yellow dress. Stephanie Smith urges all to wear yellow for Marie Curie’s Daffodil Appeal.
Yellow is a colour that symbolises Natasha’s lightness of spirit, the sunshine and charm that captivate everyone she meets. The spectacular new BBC production by Andrew Davies follows Tolstoy in giving Natasha, played by Lily James, a pretty yellow dress, although apparently it is several years after that first glimpse that they meet again and fall in love at a ball, and Natasha is 12 or 13 at the start of the epic tale. Actually, I can’t swear to any of this, as War and Peace is next on my reading list, but that’s what aficionados tell me. Anyway, whatever the liberties taken with Tolstoy’s timeline, both the yellow dress scene and the ball scene had viewers utterly transfixed the Sunday before last.
Yellow was already a hot catwalk trend for spring/summer ’16, and the Natasha effect can only ensure that the sunshine shade sets the whole season alight with interpretations ranging from pale lemon through sunset tones to rich ochre.
Hermes came up with cropped drawstring boiler suits in a strong yellow, Stella McCartney has fitted dresses in yellow mesh fabric, while Vivienne Westwood Red Label sent Elizabeth Jagger down the London Fashion Week runway in a pale yellow short silky bias-cut dress embellished with flowers, black spiders and bees.
Black is a canny way of breaking up yellow and bringing a graphic edge, stylish for this summer’s weddings and special events, so add black belts and jewellery to yellow dresses, or, for weekend wear, team a yellow top with black jeans.
All-over yellow is definitely a firm option but it’s as an accent or as a separate that it works particularly well. Look out for yellow shoes and especially yellow bags, to add a chic flash of sun to your look.
Yellow, notoriously, is a colour that can drain the wearer of any colour of their own, but that happens only if you choose the wrong shade, so experiment, preferably before you buy, and make sure you see what the shade looks like next to your skin in daylight. Be bold (or just choose a bag).
No excuse is necessary for wearing yellow this year, but if you do desire an extra push, there surely can be no better reason to get with the yellow than to show your support for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal next month.
Marie Curie helps those living with a terminal illness, and their families, by delivering hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance. The charity employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals and is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.
Volunteers are needed to come forward as soon as possible to collect donations and help turn the streets yellow this March by encouraging others to donate and wear a daffodil pin. The appeal has raised more than £73m since 1986. There are daffodil hats and yellow T-shirts, sweatshirts, tabards and ponchos, as well as the pins, with all proceeds going to help the charity.
Marie Curie is turning Yorkshire’s streets yellow on March 5. To volunteer to collect, call 01274 386190 or visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil.