Why zoomer green is the new millennial pink

It doesn’t take a genius to see why green feels aspirational at the precise moment in history when we humans finally seem to be twigging that a green future is the only future that is going to exist. Green is good. Green is the zeitgeist. So, what to wear? Green – but make it fashion.

The expression “but make it fashion” means to add a splash of showbiz, but also a hit of sharpness. A dash of syrup, plus a squeeze of lime. If the taste is too vanilla, that’s not fashion. Which is how we have ended up with a colour-of-the-moment that symbolises nature, but actually looks a bit synthetic. The green that is everywhere right now is a flat, saturated, straightforward green. It is not the colour of moss or of olives or of sea foam.

No, it is the colour of green-screen technology. It is bold and brash and full of main-character energy. It is neither dazzling like emerald nor subtle like pistachio. It is not a colour that sparkles from a cocktail ring or from a slice in a highball glass. It speaks of crayons and grass lawns and lunchbox apples. It is green at its most blunt.

Except in fashion, the green does have a name already. This is Bottega green – some call it Zoomer green to reference the generation who wear it. It’s the green that is everywhere, that lurid shade somewhere between a shamrock and a matcha latte, has for the past year been effectively owned by the Italian fashion label Bottega Veneta. When Bottega – first name only to all self-respecting fashionistas, no idea why – staged a show at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London, the stage was bathed in this green. Bottega has made the colour a signature, just as Hermès has with orange, and Tiffany with duck-egg blue. Such a hit is the colour that Bottega-the-green is now bigger than Bottega-the-brand. Yes, the handbags are divine, if you can afford them, but a granny smith apple is also a fashion status symbol in its own right.

How did this green replace blush pink, which was the chic colour a year or two ago? Green snuck in as an accessory first. Because you know what works great with blush pink? Green. That is why a trailing ivy houseplant looks so good against your setting-plaster-coloured walls. Combine that with the fact green is more than a colour, being also a philosophy, a mindset, and the modern lens through which we look at everything from who to vote for to what to eat and what to wear. At a moment when sustainability is front and centre of every fashion conversation, it is only logical that the hottest dresses would be green.

Fashion has begun to fluff out its feathers after the battering of the pandemic but is emerging with fewer airs and graces, humbled by the ease with which culture kicked dressing up into the long grass during lockdown. A down-to-earth green is where it’s at. Green is punchy but homely, and that makes it perfect for this year.

There is another way of reading this colour, one that decodes it not via a Pantone chart but from the highway code. This is traffic light green, you see. A universal symbol, understood across ages and languages. It means that it is safe to proceed. After living life on pause for so long, the allure of a colour that gives us permission to pick up where we left off is strong. We want to wear green not because it makes us feel pretty or chic or elegant, but because it makes us feel safe.

A green light for a safe future? A handbag doesn’t get much more aspirational than that.