Searching for news which feels optimistic and hopeful is, at the moment, akin to Waiting For Godot. It just doesn’t seem to exist. Or at least, not in overwhelming quantities. It makes perfect sense, then, that so many of us are focussing on the smaller aspects of daily life to provide moments of levity, pinning our hopes to manageable and realistic goals to provide us with something to look forward to. One such goal could be something as seemingly frivolous as getting dressed up again – something which may have more of an effect on your mood than you might think. And that’s where the new spring dresses come in.
In case you hadn’t noticed, fashion has been championing dresses for a while now. But never have they been so ubiquitous as on the spring/summer 2021 ‘catwalks’ (of course, most of these catwalks were digital showcases as opposed to actual shows). In fact, it would almost be ridiculous to list designers who are clearly banking on the dress for next season. Think of your favourite label. It definitely included a dress in its spring/summer 2021 collection.
Michael Kors’ green maxi dress for spring
One important thing to note is that there isn’t just one style of dress reigning supreme. Designers, instead, showed dresses for our every mood – and our every stage of lockdown, for that matter. There were the easy-to-wear dresses in which one could float around the house: loose, monochrome midis from Ports 1961; strappy, swinging maxis from Michael Kors; floor-sweeping patchwork showstoppers from Dolce and Gabbana and billowing long-sleeved dresses from Erdem, Chanel and Dior.
Christopher John Rogers, spring/summer 2021
For those among us looking for something to take outside (when the time comes), Christopher John Rogers presented his inimitable take on glamour, largely in the form of voluminous gowns and sculptural silhouettes that look as if they’ve been designed specifically as the antithesis to lockdown loungewear. These are dresses which beg to be seen. Then there were Emilia Wickstead’s elegant caped dresses in primary brights, Halpern’s feathered party frocks, Loewe’s exaggerated shoulders and Valentino’s liquid sequins. I could go on.
Valentino’s sequins for spring 2021
Cefinn, known for its polished, wear-everywhere dresses, launched its spring collection recently and says sales of dresses have almost doubled since, ‘suggesting that people are feeling more optimistic about the coming months. Two of our best-selling styles since launch are the Sylvia Skirt and Olivia Dress,’ said a spokesperson for the brand.
Similarly, Kitri has seen a surge in interest for dresses, having seen its Molly Dress, a pink checked midi, sell out entirely when it arrived on site. More stock is on its way. It seems printed styles are generally popular, with Lyst reporting that searches for print and floral dresses are up collectively by 103% since last year. The global fashion shopping platform says that, in terms of colours, cream, green and earth tones are the most in demand. Black dresses are also having a moment, up 25% year to date.’
Kitri’s Molly dress, now sold out
Isabel Spearman, creator of the Daily Dress Edit, suggests that the new wave of dresses could be a reaction to all of the leggings and loungewear in which we’ve been living. ‘With the casualisation of our wardrobes in the last year, the easy-to-wear and easy-to-care for dress is the staple we can always turn to. You can style them up for when we can actually leave the house but also pair them with thermals and slippers at home.’ As well as posting some of the dreamiest dresses to be found on the Daily Dress Edit’s Instagram page, Spearman also uses the platform to discover and champion a lot of independent and sustainable brands.
‘I am excited about unearthing more of the nano-brands that have flourished during lockdown,’ she says. ‘The ones that make-to-order, which allows for zero waste and much excitement when said dress finally arrives. Back by Sundown, Molby, Studio Darla and Faith-Rowan Leeves are my new favourite finds.’
At Net-a-Porter, too, dresses are selling incredibly well. Gucci’s metallic floral shirtdress, the product of a collaboration with Ken Scott, was a particular favourite with customers in recent weeks, while Andrew GN’s lace-trimmed mini, Oscar de la Renta’s appliquéd midi and Khaite’s ribbed knit dress are other best-sellers at the moment.
Of course, the temperature outside does not exactly lend itself to a spring wardrobe but the beauty of a dress is that it can be adapted for pretty much any weather. Layer roll necks underneath, wear with tights, boots and oversized knits and look ahead to sunnier days – when you’ll be able to wear your optimistic new dress without a thousand layers while having drinks with friends, or celebrating a birthday. We can dream.
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