Hanoi’s colour palette tends toward the discreet: a mix of smoky greys in the medieval old quarter, pastel sherbet hues on the new French boulevards. This makes the sudden bursts of vibrant red that dot the city all the more intense. Red in Hanoi is an imperial colour. It flashes in Chinese shrines, in paper lanterns and packets of incense, and on carved temple doors. The colour was used again more recently with another Empire; Soviet influence in the Communist capital sparked a revival of the hue, where it was used to bold effect for official signs, on government buildings, and in propaganda posters.