TREND Navy, to use a cliché, is the new black

I t's blue's time for some cheer. Cobalt, electric, indigo, powder, baby, ultramarine or Prussian… there's something comforting and fail-safe about the hue and all its shades. And despite the pink-for-girls, blue-for-boys premise that little ones begin life with, blue is also a unisex shade, along with black, grey and brown — albeit a lot more cheerful than the former three.

In the realm of formal-dom, navy is emerging as the more relaxed alternative to black; navy has the slimming, can't-go-wrong assurance that black offers, while, like mottled green, it holds well under night lights. The red carpet, therefore, has become its playing field.

Salma Hayek donned a look from Bottega Veneta's Spring/ Summer 2012 collection (her second one from the line after a chocolate-shade version last month) at a promotional event for Puss in Boots in Mexico City last week, pairing the navy crushed dress with black Giuseppe Zanotti peep-toe platforms.

At the 2011 Museum of Contemporary Arts gala, “An Artist's Life Manifesto” in Los Angeles, Minnie Driver wore an off-shoulder navy number by New York designer Douglas Hannant.

The Ides of March star Evan Rachel Wood, while attending the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' 2011 Governors Awards in Los Angeles, also roped in the colour-block trend with a navy shoulder cape on a black dress from designer Alessandra Rich's Spring/ Summer 2012 collection.

Amber Heard, whose red carpet outings during the promotional tour of The Rum Diary have included stunners from Elie Saab, Reem Acra and Dolce & Gabbana, wowed in a simple navy, low-back dress from Stella McCartney.

Jennifer Garner, showing off her baby bump, attended the screening of Butter at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in a silk navy jumpsuit. (Co-star Olivia Wilde went on the other end of the palette in a peach dress from Marc Jacobs' Louis Vuitton Spring/ Summer 2012 line.)

Jennifer Love Hewitt, at the premiere of Like Crazy in Hollywood, turned to a regular navy bandage dress from Herve Leger, while Debra Winger's sequinned Armani dress that she wore at the Rome International Festival had the welcome luminescence of the night sky.

The Christian Dior couture dress that actor Andrea Riseborough wore to the U.K. premiere of W.E ., the diaphanous tulle in navy and nude producing the effect of ink merging in water, at once captured the innate appeal that navy holds.