This language is one of delight and mischief. Silk slip dresses with embellished layers of tulle – as seen at Temperley and Richard Quinn – and tweeds under giant straw hats at Chanel personify the new languid mood. At Balenciaga, find a version that hangs from hooped straps with the brand name embellished in pastel-colored stones like a stick of seaside rock candy. For Thom Browne, the delicious camp of summer – including lobsters, pineapples, starfish, watermelons and ice-cream cones – adorned skirt suits and sheath dresses, with every square inch covered in crystals, pearls and beads. The mood promises long hazy summer days in the company of good friends – devices switched to airplane mode and a gelato in hand. As Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino says, “Romance is a lifestyle.”
As night falls, one might find oneself in a peach melba lamé hostess gown by Peter Pilotto topped with a cocktail fez by Noel Stewart and accessorized with half-sphere bags encrusted with crystals. Or perhaps in Isabel Marant’s glittering silver sweatshirt dresses, or one of any number of cloud-like dresses in angelic white adorned with a galaxy of tiny crystal stars.
The desire for decadence and magic is magnified in a wave of wondrous accessories that sing rather than yell in attention-grabbing cacophony. Gherado Felloni’s first collection for Roger Vivier featured pastel silk-jacquard ballerinas decorated with crystal buckles, and patent kitten heels with jeweled-button fastenings. It was shown in a dressed-up series of rooms in a Parisian townhouse that was transformed into Hotel Vivier. Passing through those cinematic sets, spying an ingénue in her boudoir trying on satin, or a classical dancer rehearsing some moves, one was reminded of how we invest personal dreams in the act of getting dressed.
“Hotel Vivier is a place like no other, where women reveal all the richness, complexity, beauty and intensity of their personalities,” says Felloni. “Just as I went on a journey of discovery over the years to capture their many facets, my guests will make their own discoveries at every turn and inside every room, meeting the characters who inspire me every day.”
In these visions, one is reminded of how intimate the dialogue is between a woman, her clothes and the outside world. Accessories are a punctuation mark, a gesture of optimism. Consider Mary Katrantzou’s brilliant bustier dress for her collector’s collection, with a bubble skirt fashioned to look like a velvet jewelry box complete with a display of rings. It’s a magpie’s delight.
There is also a renewed fascination with headwear – be it a sparkling sugar-pink Alice band at Prada, Stephen Jones’s crystal sun visors at Thom Browne, pretty headbands at Saint Laurent, or the parade of straw hats by Maison Michel chez Chanel. “Wearing a hat is an optimistic gesture,” says Jones, who also fashioned towering giant flower headpieces for Matty Bovan. Hats suggest character and they also provide the wearer with a few precious moments of privacy. Now doesn’t that sound dreamy?
There’s an intricacy and ornateness in jewelry that is being shaped by the same mood. Tabitha Simmons’ mismatched drop earrings, as well as chokers in emerald, ruby and sapphire colored stones, appear like heirloom treasures, while patrician pearls, too, are making a comeback. Gabriele Frantzen’s version came in the shape of a long looping necklace with a giant stone set in rose gold.
The new generation is tackling issues of sustainability with energy and ingenuity. Kevin Germanier, a Swiss designer based in Paris, uses beads and crystals destined for landfill in a unique process that bonds them with silicone to create striking modernist shapes, including kick-pleat skirts and bar jackets. Fearless Parisian Marine Serre, meanwhile, offers gem-encrusted gowns in her made-to-order line, which might feature upcycled, intricately reconstructed T-shirts or fishing gilets. Both show that a love of dressing up can be happily married to a respect for ecology and still be glamorous.
So much to muse on and to dream on, making the art of getting dressed that little bit more delightful.
This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of SALT magazine.
Image Credits: Jason-Lloyd Evans; Luca Tombolini/Indigital.tv; Marcus Tondo/Indigital.tv; Sonny Vandevelde/Indigital.tv