When I heard a few weeks ago that Coast were teaming up with the V&A to create a capsule collection of evening dresses based on the museum’s recent exhibition, I was of course, pretty intrigued. Whilst I was really pleased that the high street stalwart would be the one to take on such a task, I couldn’t quite imagine how even they would be able to create anything to come even close to those stunning historical ballgowns, especially at a high street price. And whilst ‘classic meets contemporary style’ has seemingly been done to death (not to mention fashion collaborations….although I’ll personally never tire of them!) Coast has really pulled it out of the bag, with stunning silhouettes, luxurious fabrics and ‘a magical sense of celebration’.
The collection of six ‘objects of beauty’ are already receiving lots of attention, and given the funds, each one would quickly find its way into my wardrobe! Each piece draws on a classic and highly coveted look from the past, and celebrates the art of dressing to impress….
This to me is the epitome of evening dress glamour. Incredibly elegant, with a fishtail skirt echoing the luxurious silhouette of the 1930s, the Cecily Maxi is expertly crafted in dreamy Duchess satin, with panels of silk Georgette. The hour-glass shape alone would be enough to make you feel like Greta Garbo, whilst the hand sewn crystal embellishments and train ramp up the drama as far as it can go. The cleverly detailed open back make this dress modern and sexy though too, and if I trusted myself not to over-eat and spoil the effect with a pot belly, this dress may well have been a potential wedding dress for me.
Decadent much?! Just imagine walking down a red carpet in this…easy isn’t it? Inspired by the architectural dress shapes of the 1950s couture houses (a style of which I’ve always been a devotee) this romantic number boasts a fully corseted bodice, and silk blend fabric. The hugely voluminous skirt draws the eye to an accentuated waistline, whilst the glimpse of leg is enough to make you feel like you’ve just stepped out onto the red carpet.
I love this fresh and fun party dress, inspired by the full skirted ball gowns of the 1950s. Featuring luxurious layers of scalloped tulle and organza with a sprinkling of beads and sequins, this special number would see you through from formal reception to late night dancing, and allows you to show off a pretty pair of shoes to boot.
I remember learning about the bias-cut as a teenager, and thinking that this surely must be the most luxurious way to cut a dress. And this floor-sweeper typifies that gentle elegance of the 1930s, with its luxuriously fluid silk satin and low back. The geometric patterns of hand sewn crystals make this dress Gatsby-party-worthy and I can clearly imagine being spun around a mirrored ballroom in it.
I’m still crazy about anything yellow, and this pretty primrose colour is just so deliciously perfect for Spring. Echoing again the romantic silhouettes of the 1950s, this playfully girly dress would be my most wearable piece from the collection. Crafted from delicately soft tulle, with a bodice embellished with hand sewn crystals and cording, this full skirted frock is lined with a tulle petticoat. I think I’d wear it every day. Yes, even with wellies when walking the hound.
This one is the real showstopper though, in my opinion at least. This is a ‘true ballgown’, inspired by the debutante balls of the 1950s, and ridiculously glamourous. Crafted from layers of softly structured organza to create its dramatic volume, the internal construction of the bodice holds in the figure, whilst the soft layers of tulle add movement and accentuate the waist. For me, the frothiness and sculpting of this dress make it a perfect occasion piece, and utterly timeless with it.
Whilst the price labels prohibit snatching all of these up, I think they represent incredible value, considering the luxurious fabrics and expert pattern making involved. Should someone decide to whisk me off to a ball in Vienna, or invite me to a black tie wedding, I’d be snapping one of these up in a minute….and even if I’m not, they’re posing quite the temptation nonetheless!
Which dress is your favourite? And when or where would you wear it?