For many people, a dress is the fashion item they most associate with significant milestones, whether it’s a prom dress, a wedding gown, a look for a big birthday party or even one for just a memorable night out with friends. A good dress can take on cultural significance, too: just think of J Lo’s Versace gown that launched Google Images, Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress, or Harry Styles’s gender-fluid moment on the front cover of US Vogue.
During the pandemic, we saw the popularity of throw-on frocks soar, but fast-forward to the first post-lockdown Christmas, and it was all about the rhinestone-spangled “naked” dress. A sartorial reflection of the zeitgeist, a dress can be equal parts political and pretty, sexy and sombre, subversive and imbued with mass-market appeal.
Every season, designers and retailers roll out fresh interpretations of this wardrobe icon, whether they’re playing around with new silhouettes and unexpected colour combinations or experimenting with innovative fabrics. But, ultimately, whatever form it takes, the dress is a wardrobe staple that will never lose its relevance.
“A dress is such a summer stalwart that it can live in your wardrobe for years and years, largely unaffected by trends,” explains Vogue fashion features editor, Laura Hawkins. “A white cotton dress, for example, will outlive any catwalk fad, and is a great wardrobe investment piece. Largely a great summer dress relies on what fit is best for you – whether it’s nipped in, maxi, mini or oversized.”
So what to expect in the dress stakes for spring/summer 2023? Form-fitting seems to be the buzz term of the season, whether it’s stretch-jersey, second-skin dresses, curve-hugging maxis or strapless, Noughties-inspired denim numbers. This doesn’t, however, come at the expense of refinement, and it was the tension between covered-up and sheer that created interest on the runways.
“Reveal and conceal was a consistent theme throughout last season’s shows,” explains Net-a-Porter market director, Libby Page. “With brands such as Nensi Dojaka and Valentino reimagining this in their own way, and Saint Laurent pioneering the trend with sheer maxi dresses – creating an interesting juxtaposition between being fully covered whilst revealing all at the same time.”
- The Two Skin-Care Products Saving My Oily Skin
- 17 Skincare Makeup Hybrids That Pair Complexion and Skin-Friendly Benefits
- The Best Cetaphil Products For Acne, According To Dermatologists
- The Best Summer Skincare Products and Tips Recommended by Hollywood Beauty Experts
- Louise McSharry: the best products for menopausal skin