Sunday, June 24, 2007

Patterned Evening Gowns

Looking through Vogue's photographic coverage of the Met Costume Institute's gala to celebrate the opening of the Poiret exhibit, I noticed that all the evening gowns that seemed completely of-the-moment were patterned. Maybe many of the attendees were wearing bold patterns to honor Poiret but it's an interesting trend nonetheless. My favorites are the three above.

The first dress is jaw-dropping and reminds me of something out of a John William Waterhouse painting, like 'Circe Invidiosa'. There's something Art Nouveau about the pattern and the watery blues would befit the sultriest nymph or siren. Right now, the back seems to me like such a great part of the body to show off for evening: stong, sexy, mysterious, unexpected.

The second dress is demure almost to the point of severity, but the pattern saves it, making it seem opulent instead. I'm excited to see the long short sleeves, which I wrote about a couple of weeks back. I think part of what makes them work so well here is that they end right at the thinnest part of the waist and therefore help accentuate it. I love the flattering boat neck and the way the sleeves, neckline and hem are edged with white, a detail which makes the garment look particularly carefully finished.

The third gown is a total Southern Belle fantasy with its small sweet floral, tiny bodice and enormous, crinolined skirt. But the contrasting large black flower and black detailing high on the waist rescue it from the realm of historical costume and transform it into a playful, nostalgic wink at the past.

Though I don't have plans to attend a ball anytime soon, these are still a fashion inspiration.

First dress, vintage Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano. Second dress by Oscar de la Renta. Third dress by Rochas. All images from Vogue, July '07.

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