Monday, June 29, 2009

Gown Town: Resort Redux

Even though most of us have no use for poufy ballgowns, it's still one of the strongest components of any fashion season, simply because grandeur and glamour have no equal when it comes to putting on a show, and it's just so vicariously enjoyable to view these works of art. While the sensible, practical side in me knows that it's infinitely harder to cut a great pant, the whimsical dreamer says: screw pants. Why not fill your closet with crazy/beautiful gowns? After Fall's severe and often colourless presentations, I was happy to find that even though Resort isn't the most gown-friendly season, there was plenty of extravagance to be had in colour, volume, etc.

Paint the Town Red

Not only was scarlet red a brave and abundant choice for designers, they weren't afraid to pile on the drama, either. At Badgley Mischka and Lanvin, the gowns rippled with embellishments without going over the top. Forget Scarlett Johansson's simple red column -- leave the jewellery at home and slip into something simply (or not-so-simply) smashing.

There were no boundaries when it came to hue, either. At Zac Posen, a little bit of orange crept into the mix, for a jarring, ostentatious look-at-me look. At Monique L'huillier, a classic silhouette came in classic red. And at Marchesa, a sophisticated maroon was in the palette du jour, with Grecian draping at the forefront, as usual.

Even with the short dresses, the drama and volume stayed put, as with these Lanvin and J.Mendel creations. By the way, you can expect a LOT of Lanvin to come in this post. I've re-fallen in love with the label after a few seasons.

A Whiter Shade of Pale

With blushing nude on the radar this season, I was surprised not to see more of this shade in Resort, but I suppose it's much more of a springtime colour. Instead, there were lots of riffs on others in the palest of pale hues. Lanvin's short ruffled wedding gown is fun enough that it won't look out of place off the church aisle and on the red carpet; while Badgley Mischka's white jumpsuit is a bit more grown-up, but still challenges the status quo of gowns.

To prevent things from getting too wedding-y, an easy and loose drape is the ultimate in cool. Max Azria and Lanvin options here show you how the gown is really just a maxi-dress done good. In different materials (and at different price ranges) these would do just fine on the beach, don't you think?

Off-white isn't too off either. Dior's little concoction here looks a little bit like Michelle Obama/Jason Wu's inauguration dress -- anyone think the masterful Galliano has been a little off his game lately? It's still classy, but a tad derivative. And J.Mendel's pale yellow gown utilizes the same silhouette as the short, red version up top, but with an ethereal twist.

Floral Fancy

Tasteful florals take your gown from garden party to grown-up gala. Naeem Khan, in a relatively pared-down collection, did a good thing with this embroidered and ruched piece, while Badgley Mischka here did a shocking violet print that definitely catches the eye, and giving a nod to the trend below... 

Coming Up Violets

Purple featured strongly, it seemed to me. Dior chicly paired lilac suits with leopard trim, a nice and surprisingly Parisian looking combo. But for evening, Galliano shed the skins for innovative fabric use, coming up with this interesting column bustier with a full skirt. Yowza. Roksanda Ilincic, whom I'm loving more and more each day, needs to appreciated with her collection in full, but this satin sheath is the antithesis of Dior's pouf and frou-frou, but still equally elegant.

When going short, designers punched up the jolts of colour by 1000 percent. Preen's power dress, redone in violet with pink print, takes on a whole new personality. Power indeed. Oscar de la Renta did one of my favourite cocktail looks of the season in the middle, matched in theme by Monique L'huillier's more hem-heavy take.

Short, not Sweet

In general, short dresses can only really translate into gowns with enough punch. That could be excessive embellishing, a lot of volume, or maybe just a little pop of colour. This season, I'm really feeling a mustard dress is that unexpected shade to get people talking. Cavalli, Lanvin and Vera Wang all interpret the colour with varying tints. 


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  1. Alber Elbaz can do no wrong in my eyes!

  2. Aww this post makes me want to get all dressed up.

    I'd love to exchange links! I'm adding you right now.