New York magazine last week declared the latest fashion trend brought in by millennials, and millennials only: the color pink. It was in 2012, the article states, that the color first started showing up everywhere. By 2016 it existed in multiple shades and was given the name "millennial pink."
The author of the piece—who, by the way, is 25 years old—does acknowledge that perhaps the color's popularity had been a long time coming. A time line charts the appearance of a rosy hue in a painting from 1767, then jumps straight to 1968 and in no short order to the 2000s as Paris Hilton is credited for being a pioneer who "created a lifestyle out of pink."
Oh, so it was Paris Hilton and an army of millennials who popularized the color. Never mind the 1957 film Funny Face, in which Kay Thompson uses a huge musical number to tell everyone to "Think pink!" Forget about Madame de Pompadour, the 18th-century French noblewoman who was known for wearing the shade while sneaking around with King Louis XV. And I guess those rosebushes that first bloomed in Chinese gardens more than 5,000 years ago can go fuck themselves, because it was the young who invented pink.
Should we be surprised? Millennials do this with everything. They reinvigorate and take ownership of things that already exist, like cocktails and fringe jackets and Bill Murray. Murray became famous before most of millennials were a twinkle in an eye, and he never really went away—but now everyone under the age of 30 praises him as their own manic pixie dream dad, hoping he'll crash their bachelor party and cross-stitching his face on any surface that will allow it, all without knowing who Nick the Lounge Singer is. The same thing is happening with the color pink.
The color is trendy now more than ever, New York goes on to say, because pink no longer represents a feminine ideal but rather groundbreaking ideas about gender neutrality and trans acceptance. It's either that or the music video for "Hotline Bling" has much greater staying power than anyone could've anticipated.
This seems like a good time to talk about rosé. As the color pink has become more popular, so too has this white-girl wine, rebranded with a French name to make us forget that it's the same thing that's been available by the box since the late 70s. If Franzia's Sunset Blush isn't safe from the madness then nothing is! It's becoming clear that millennials have not come up with a single original concept in their entire over-Instagrammed, post-Baby-Jessica-stuck-in-the-well lives.
Perhaps more upsetting than the claims of this New York piece is the fact that the article itself is nearly 4,000 words long. By the way, 16 of those words are: "Ivanka Trump wears a blush-pink sheath dress (from her own line) to the Republican National Convention." In a time when the world is basically crumbling around us, is millennial pink really what we should be focusing on?
"Yaaassssss!" says Kendall Jenner, who recently painted her living room Baker-Miller pink because it's the only color that suppresses her appetite. She posted about this on Instagram, which appears to be where millennial pink is most popular. Seventy-five thousand people follow an account that is just pictures of plants near the color pink. A restaurant in New York had to remove seating with a pink tabletop because so many people requested it as a backdrop for the photos of their food they were posting on Instagram. A picture of Drake wearing a pink Moncler Maya puffer coat got a million likes on Instagram, and then the coat sold out. Actually, this whole thing just might be Drake's fault.
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Toward the end of the article, New York mag's design editor chimes in to say that this particular hue is flattering to the eye because it has fewer blue tones than true shades of the color—a fact that makes it not even really pink at all. That's right. The color we've been talking about this whole time is actually a fucking shade of beige. An iconic, cheerful color has been co-opted by an entire generation and turned into a fleshy shell of its former self.
Maybe all the attention is a sign that millennial pink is on its way out. But don't worry, the youngs have already set their sights on the next shade to popularize: green. A color that has been around since the literal beginning of time. What that hue will do to wine and Kendall Jenner's appetite, well, only time will tell.
This essay was first performed in The Paper Machete, the live magazine performed at the Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway) on Saturdays at 3 PM. For more info, go to thepapermacheteshow.com.