Wishlist: 70s retro print maxidresses

la double j editions mantero print

One of Mantero’s archive prints made into new dresses by La Double J

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).

Mass market board

Zara, Asos, Warehouse, Miss Selfridge, Asos

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.

luxe board

Gucci, La Double J Editions, MSGM, Valentino

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).

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