Destination dressing is booming | FinancialTimes
Fiona Leahy knows all about fancy dress. But when the leading event designer considered her options for a birthday bash at Six Senses Ibiza last month, all the vintage Valentino, Rick Owens and Paco Rabanne pieces she had packed looked all too familiar. “So I ditched what I was going to wear and rented a metallic, futuristic Barbarella mini dress instead,” she says.
It turned out to be the right choice. “I had a number of things I could have worn, but this dress was exciting,” Leahy says. “It’s as if we were all released from prison. We are really excited to dress up. And as soon as you get dressed, you feel uplifted and more likely to have a good time.
The mood change has come for our holiday wardrobes. After the Zoom tops, balaclavas, rain boots, picnic dresses and Dryrobes of two pandemic summers, this one takes a glam twist. When it comes to dressing for landmark trips and major events, the outlook is clear: more is more.
“Summer vacations and event wear are definitely, definitely back,” says Jeannie Lee, womenswear buying manager at Selfridges, where demand for luxury clothing has returned to levels approaching those of before the pandemic. “People have stayed home for so long without buying a new bag or a new dress to wear to a wedding. When you’ve been deprived of novelty and suddenly have the excuse and the opportunity, customers get into it, head to toe.
A little pre-holiday shopping is nothing new. What’s new in 2022 is that instead of just replacing tired sandals, affluent travelers are curating a total vacation wardrobe. Stylists and personal shoppers report that rather than taking a pick-and-mix approach to holiday packaging, customers are opting for entire outfits.
“I’ve been so busy and I feel like every date is about holiday apparel,” says Tessa Litchfield, senior private buyer at MatchesFashion.com. “I do complete looks, not worrying about budgets, just ‘wow’.”
Jet-setters bound for Capri or Formentera pack the crocheted dresses of Gabriela Hearst, the rainbow striped herringbone skirts of Valentino, the fringed or feathered kaftans of Taller Marmo and the oversized shell necklace Larry from Chloe. For weddings, guests turn to matching two-piece sets from Emilia Wickstead and Erdem (Gwyneth Paltrow recently picked up the latter’s floral-print linen crop top and wrap skirt for a summer wedding) .
“Summer is the season when even minimalists give themselves permission to step into a print,” says JJ Martin, founder of Italian fashion and homeware brand, La Double J. Versatility is key – Martin recommends wearing a matching maxi skirt. print on one of its optional long-sleeved swimsuits for evening, or pack an all-over print silk A-line dress that “folds down to the waist of a handkerchief.” She adds, “Women want pieces that will do double or even triple duty: ‘What can I wear to the beach that will also work for a cocktail party or dinner by the sea?'”
Another category that is selling well after years of fallow: heels. Outré styles from D’Accori, Amina Muaddi and Mach & Mach are taking basic wedge espadrilles out of the suitcases. Don’t plan on wearing them to your next boat party. “The boat wrap is fascinating because there are no heels,” says Litchfield. “And these are women who think dressing up means putting on a heel. We have to think about what dress or look will work with a flat shoe or barefoot on the boat, and still feel special. . . It doesn’t it’s not about fitting in at these boat parties, even if you’re like that in your day-to-day life.
Not on my stay, you say? Not so fast. While a woman I know traveled to a boutique hotel in Menorca only to find that the vacation gear she’s relied on for the past two summers wouldn’t translate to 2022, I I only had to go to a farm in Cornwall. And yet, a friend came down for cocktails wearing a long emerald silk dress and a chunky gold necklace, greeted by murmurs of approval all around.
In many cases, the destination dressing boom stems from the events involved. Everyone who’s delayed a destination wedding or rescheduled a childless vacation with friends, only to cancel and reschedule it all over again, has mentally upped the ante on how much effort they’re willing to put into their vacation looks. .
Of course, unless you ship your suitcase in advance, no amount of strategic packing can prevent lost luggage debacles (sympathy to anyone with bags in the “huge luggage belt” at Heathrow) . Fortunately, luxury brands, keen to capture the buying power of returning tourists after focusing on local customers, have opened seasonal boutiques in jet-set hotspots. Bottega Veneta has seven summer destinations, including Portofino, Capri and Marbella. Chanel is popping up in Bodrum and Saint-Tropez, while Dior offers its Beachy Dioriviera collection in seasonal stores in Taormina, Montauk and Mykonos.
And hotel boutiques, once an afterthought, have become new destinations for luxury fashion. “We have people coming from outside the resort,” says Daniela Agnelli, stylist and co-founder of Agora, an eco-responsible boutique at Six Senses Ibiza. People come to browse the Cinderella Rail: the selection of party clothes for rent where Leahy found her Barbarella dress. “It brings a lot of joy,” says Agnelli. “Women want to feel shiny and new.”
Sparkling and new can smell a universe far from the ground, burnt, disillusioned. It’s easy to scoff at destination dressing as frivolous, especially in a time characterized by daily, unrelenting terror — about war, inflation, Rwanda, Roe. In a softer light, this focus on the good times suggests a devotion not to the fantasy that everything is perfect, but to the idea that we should celebrate when we can. “People want to come back to life. It’s moving,” says Carla Sersale, founder of Emporio Sirenuse. “It’s a good thing, a sign that the world is alive and that we want to continue living and being happy.”
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