“THE point, often forgotten, of the ballgown, is that it is to be worn at a ball and danced in.” So wrote Daphne Guinness in the May 2012 issue of Vogue, rhapsodising on the superlative fantasy of reams of fabric flowing in sync with waltzes and polkas. Bewitching ballgowns seem the stuff of fairytales in anxiety-ridden 2017, but designers are seeking escape for spring/summer 2018: they cropped up on catwalks at Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Delpozo and Emilia Wickstead. This was reassuring, in the sense that so many of these designers have staked their claim on occasion dressing. Inflating hems, reeling out fabric and adding layers upon layers of tulle was their version of “optimism”. More surprising, however, was the ballgown’s inclusion at the habitually streetwise Off-White and at Simone Rocha, who tempers her brand of romance with a twisted sense of something being “a little bit off”. Dare to dream, seemed to be the theme – but can you wear a ballgown post-Brexit? Discuss.
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