MAXI DRESS, MAXI GLAM
If jeans symbolize democracy in fashion, the long or maxi dress is synonymous with femininity. Trailing along the ground, at the ankles or mid-length, dresses and skirts which hide the legs and flatter the silhouette – especially if generous and flowing – are fascinating and even seductive. Lengths may change with the seasons, but the maxi dress is a fashion and style staple, no longer bound by the many labels it has collected over centuries of history and changing customs.
Up to a couple of centuries ago, women had no alternative to long dresses or skirts but, thanks to designers like Paul Poiret, the early years of the previous century marked the beginning of a dizzy revolution with hems first rising and then falling, reflecting changing ideologies. Skirts began to rise in the ’20s and ‘30s, hand-in-hand with the first glimpses of shocking social progress that had never been experienced before. After all, how could you possibly dance the swing wearing a long dress? That length, which appeared to be so daring at the time, was not destined to last and after events that shook society over the next couple of years, skirts settled at mid-length, an obvious sign of widespread prudence.
The style came and went and ended up with the anthesis of the long skirt: the miniskirt, championed by Mary Quant at the end of the ’60s, took hems to an all-time high, with the length inversely proportional to the desire for freedom and practicality of the girls of the day. The monopoly on short and ultra-short skirts lasted until almost the ‘90s, when it merged with grunge, giving fashion a new meaning: it was whatever you wanted it to be, power dressing. Although boundaries had been courageously pushed and scandals regularly caused, an updated version of the extra-long dress – in cotton lace and down to the ankles – reappeared in 1968, designed by Oscar de la Renta and featured in an article in the New York Times.
For about a decade, the maxi dress was influenced by the different styles of a society in turmoil, firstly a favourite with the hippy movement and then, after almost vanishing totally, reappearing once again with a slightly chic, bohemian look, reinterpreted by the icon of boho-chic: Kate Moss. It was the beginning of the new millennium and the long dress was here to stay.
The maxi dress is a staple of all Caractère collections and this spring-summer 2018 it features in light, wavy silk creponne in warm natural colours, gathered at the waist or loose over the hips. A regular feature every season, the maxi dress is timeless, one of the garments every woman should have in her wardrobe. A classic evergreen, just like the desire it provokes. Just change your accessories and your maxi dress is suitable for all occasions, it says who you are. Casual during the day, elegant at night. Always sophisticated and romantic. Because as long as fashion changes, style stays the same.