Scarlet, that bright flame-like hue, is just about as vibrant as it gets. The sultry shade of red will make any design stand out due to its high visibility and when used in just the right way, it is undeniably irresistible.
Just like you cannot deny the power of a red lip, scarlet means business and it is certainly a power move this fall.
I have been uncharacteristically drawn to it and embracing its bold warming appeal this season.
Scarlet is not only rich in shade but it also has quite a significant history. The bold red has been associated with riches and power dating back to ancient times when scarlet dyes were mentioned in various Persian writings. It was sold as 'Armenian Red' and exported to Rome becoming the mark of authority as it was extremely expensive due to the difficult process of creating the hue from small-scale insects.
Throughout the Middle Ages, 'Venetian Scarlet' coming out of Venice was the most luxurious color of the times and notable as King Louis XIV wore scarlet colored heels to market his royalty. Similarly, scarlet has always been the color of the British Nobility and ceremonial gowns are still worn by the House of Lords today.
Scarlet has always been the official color of the Catholic Church representing the blood of Christ and the traditional color worn by the Cardinals.
In Italy, during the Renaissance, scarlet was also used to depict a symbol of nobility. It was seen in many period artworks such as the Portrait of a Young Man (1469) by Sandro Botticelli.
Red is the color that makes people sit up and take notice. It immediately indicates one is self-reliant, optimistic and confident. In color psychology, it represents enthusiasm, determination, and energy. The scarlet family of red is more specifically associated with passion, heat, love, desire, strength, and courage.
Interestingly enough, it is a shade that is inspired by both piety and extravagance. The word “scarlet” is mentioned a few times in the Bible and is mostly associated with immorality, adultery, and sin.
In the literal sense, it is the color that denotes danger and is frequently used as a warning sign.
Scarlet, a perennial favorite in the fashion world, first made its appearance in scarlet dyed garments dating back to 200 BC. The garments were considered prestigious and associated with courage, lust and joy. Dressing in this red-hot hue has since become a symbol of seduction in fashion. The late Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga was one of the first to bring scarlet to mainstream fashion drawing inspiration from the scarlet-clad Basque bullfighters and flamenco dancers.
From high-fashion where it represents luxury to streetwear where it signifies vitality and athletic appeal, to Hollywood where it has always been staple among the most memorable leading ladies- the emotional strength and ambiguity of this special shade of red makes it the color of the heart. And of course the most statement making.
The 2023 runway season captured this red mood by featuring splashes of scarlet on everything from suits, gowns and coats to the return of the classic red lip and nails. We saw this translate straight from the runway to the red-carpet and across social media.
In interior design, scarlet is used to create a dynamic and lively atmosphere in a room. It is revered by designers because it simultaneously creates warmth while packing a punch.
When used in the right way, it exudes a sense of timeless elegance. It has a classic quality that can be both traditional and contemporary, making it suitable for a wide range of interior styles.
Since decorating with such a vibrant shade can be challenging, an all or almost nothing approach works best. One way to decorate around scarlet is to feature it as the focal point while utilizing plenty of neutral color throughout the rest of the room. Repeating small doses of scarlet within decor or accent pieces helps to create balance.
Tan, beige, brown, cream and gold are neutral colors that work really well with scarlet (take a look at the Fall Moodboard for more of this inspiration).
Scarlet also works well with a variety of other colors, pairing beautifully with white, gray, and black to create a striking contrast. It also complements other warm shades like yellow and orange, or on the contrary it can become balanced when paired with with its' opposite on the color wheel, cyan blue.
For a maximalist approach, nothing makes more of an impact than scarlet red painted floor to ceiling- especially when done in a high-gloss finish.
The effect is not for the faint of heart but it makes for an incredibly warm and enveloping environment that pushes the design envelope.
Start slow with the scarlet trend by choosing a few items that authentically fit within your wardrobe and home to make this intimidating shade appear more effortless.
Whether you wear it as a beautiful dress, a pop on the lips, art on the walls or decor on the table; there's no doubt the fiery hue will make a splash this season.
Here are some of my favorite scarlet finds to bring the look home:
Shop the Board
I have never really been a blazer girl, but this one may convince me otherwise
A fringed lampshade to make a fun statement
A cheeky framed photograph great for walls that need a dose of color
This lipstick delivers that perfect red lip
Coffee table chic
A pretty printed paper I would love to use in a hallway or foyer
Their vases always add a touch of whimsy
Elegant outdoor seating brings Parisian vibes
The classic silhouette that adds sculptural interest to empty corners
I love the red version of this hurricane
One of my favorite area rugs and it happens to be on sale
Adding this dress to the cart for my next vacation
An eternally classic vintage scarf