The Temptation of The Evening Dress

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From Hollie Graham
Once again, it is the captivating magnificence of this day dress that’s lighting up the fashion world. The Victoria & Albert Museum opened a’Ball Gowns: British Glamour because 1950‘ exhibition on Saturday, 19 May 2012 (open until 6 January 2013). It will exhibit evening wear spanning 60 decades, by designers like McQueen, Packham, Stiebel, and Deacon. Boasting dresses worn by celebrities, the truly glamorous, and needless to say, royalty.

Our love affair with the evening dress began from the early 19th century, when its popularity grew as it became fashionable in formal affairs. Always made from luxurious fabrics, the plan of this dress has changed over the years as fashion styles have improved. Throughout the Victorian age, floor- and – ankle-length dresses stayed most admired, with most changes being made into the sleeves and neck lines. From the 1830s, off-the-shoulder dresses dominated; in the 1840s, low-necked layouts; and at the 1850s short-sleeved gowns. In the 1860s, dresses were accessorised with long gloves and the 1890s with a very long train. The Edwardian age saw the empire shape and in the 1920s the flapper style revolutionised the evening apparel. But, it was not until the 1930s that the apparel was exceptionally modernised and has been swept up onto glamorous and innovative style scene.

Creativity and dream led to a fabulous designs. The above illustration is from the Dior Spring/Summer 96/97 collection. This strapless, full-skirted, gloriously romanticised dress consists of a silver satin corset, adorned with lace and jewels, and a fluffy capacious princess-like tulle and organza skirt. Capturing the focus and memorising.

Nina Ricci’s Spring/Summer 1994 collection. Fabulously feminine and floral patterned. It’s embellished with bows, beads and fresh flowers. The design is quite different in the Dior dress, with short sleeves and wrap over skirt. The detail about the dress is beautifully delicate, yet complicated and magnificent.

The blue evening dress is in the Chanel Couture Autumn/Winter 1996 collection. It depicts extreme sophistication with an understated fashion, which allows the incandescent fabric catch the eye. These pieces illustrate just how much the day apparel has shifted. How style has experimented, developed, and adapted in order to fabricate exquisite designs.

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