When it comes to the summer dress, there is simply no denying the world domination in recent years, of the maxi dress. This floor length dress, as whimsical as it is comfortable is taking over everything from runways to festivals this season. Always in style, and synonymous with a bohemian chic laid-back attitude, they represent the perfect all-purpose garment for the summer.
It all begins in 1968 when Oscar de La Renta debuted the original maxi dress at the Elizabeth Arden Salon. This version, not as extreme in length as the versions that we come out with today, ended closer to the ankles of the model, and was made of a cotton lace. These days, however, it is all about the sweep of the floor length version that is all the rage with women of all ages. Though some might be want to argue the lineage of the current version from such specific beginnings, it cannot be overstated enough, the impact that De La Renta’s version had on the fashion community of the time. Since then, Yves St. Laurent, Dior, Cardin, Biba, and Halston, all picked up on the new stunning lines and silhouettes of this long and flowing fabric—and from such beginnings a global trend now booms!
With a historical context in mind, it is true that longer hems had steadily crept downwards throughout the 60’s. This was a strong counterpoint to the previous trend of mini skirts and dresses ever-shortening trend that preceded them just a few short years before. Though they would originally begin to trend and take hold of the fashion world in London first, before spanning out to the rest of the world at large, they were considered to be the feminist answer and backlash to the aforementioned styles that preceded them. One additional note is that the movie Doctor Zhivago, which was so famous at the time, and notable for its Russian setting, where no doubt more length to a skirt was more seasonally appropriate, featured maxi coats over suit trousers. Again though, at this early time, they were still significantly shorter than the dresses of today.
Although the Maxi dress began its life in the 1960’s, it did not really begin to take a strong hold onto American fashion at large until the 1970’s. Throughout this decade, with the rise of hippy fashion and culture at large, it was seen everywhere via maxi-length kaftans and other bohemian wardrobe features. There were also similar versions for the nightlife that would up the anti with a slinky piece of light reflecting fabric and sky-high platforms. By the time the 1070’s came to a close though, gone with it was the Maxi trend, at least for the time being.
After the Maxi dress died out in the 70’s it began to be relegated only to bad TV shows and then tied with the idea of the spinster next-door neighbor. However, due to changes in fabric and, as always, changing style it was poised for a comeback. In the 1990’s they started coming back, but no longer made out of polyester or cottony lace. Nowadays they are made out of very lightweight materials that keep their breezy feel. Additionally, because of all the added colors, now vast as the dress is long, there is much more room for personal expression in these dresses. Now, the dress is everywhere. Its versatility does it, and you, justice, as you now have a dress that is equally as functional at the beach as it is prepped to be dressed up (with the right accessories) for a dinner party.
Be sure to check out the large collection of Maxi dresses available locally at Kuwait’s premier fashion portal, www.gojiboutique.com.