I’ve got on-going issues about printed maxi dresses. Forget the fact that I always have to chop a huge chunk off the hem – that’s a given for anyone who finds even petite ranges too long. My biggest problem is that ‘women of a certain age’ embraced them enthusiastically as a summer holiday cover-up option a few years back. So in my head they’re very middle-aged and being middle-aged myself, I steer clear of them.
But this season feels a bit different. I was stopped in my tracks by the 70s-style dress in the Zara window last week. It’s cut skinny, it both reveals and conceals and has a 70s edge that feels pretty cool. Expect to see it atop long sock-boots rather than flip-flops and don’t think ouzo, think Ossie (Clarke, that is).
So is anyone else channelling the trend? Of course. It’s happening from the mass-market through to high-end brands.
I particularly like the La Double J Editions dress (£340 at Matches, see print above). La Double J is a new shoppable website offering vintage. But they also make their own pieces using archive materials – in this case, Manero’s silks from the 60s-through-80s. The cuts are ultra-simple and the combination of archive print and maxi lengths gives them a very 70s feel.
Rather more affordable, Asos has two strong 70s shapes with a raised or natural waistline and a subtle floaty effect, retailing at £85 and £65. Even cheaper, Miss Selfridge’s scarf-print maxi has been marked down by 50% to £34.50, while the Zara dress that started me on this quest is just £79.99. More expensive, but made from silk, the Warehouse Paisley print dress at £128 reminds me of something I’d have loved as a ‘best dress’ aged about 14… but weirdly I’d happily wear it now too.
Of course, if I’m looking for something I’d LOVE to wear, let’s whizz up the price scale a bit. Gucci’s new-in-at-Browns dress from the pre-summer 16 collection is a snip at £2,870 and the print is absolutely beautiful. So is the print on MSGM’s crepe column (just £615 at Net-a-Porter). But if I wanted to go really mad, and blow my annual grocery budget, there’s always Valentino’s pre-fall dress that’s £5,135 at Matches. Valentino has been a key influencer in the whole folk/retro floral 70s trend and this dress is spectacular. Who knows, if I wait a few weeks I might be able to get it at 50% off (yeah, right).