Long skirts and dresses are starting to sweep across the pavements for spring/summer. At last – a trend that doesn’t appeal to just one per cent of the population. It’s not often that the whims of designers appeal this naturally to anyone aged over 18, but the maxi does not call for good legs/toned arms/tiny waists – or, indeed, anything at all really. And anything to get away from these ‘jeggings’ – the leggings pretending they're jeans. Seriously, what is everyone thinking? Whatever Grazia says, they are appalling. Hideous. There is not a single person that actually looks good in them. They make your legs look like sausages, whatever your shape. Surely in years to come they will be THE item that people are truly mortified to have worn in the belief that they were fashionable.
Anyway, back to skirts. While a tiny percentage of the population have the legs to pull off a mini or teeny denim shorts the minute the sun comes out, many more of us, aware of what our legs actually look like in the light of day, look for something less bare, but cooler and low-key.
So it's good news that the maxi's having a moment. Designers from Cavalli to Lanvin, Erdem to Diane von Furstenberg has gone long and luxurious with their skirts this season; check out Balenciaga's silk racer-back maxi dress in black and white print (see above). In the spirit of laidback luxe, all the best labels have done a great maxi skirt or dress this season, including Rick Owens and Acne, Vanessa Bruno and L’Agence (check out their jersey maxi, £169 and dresses online and at Selfridges) and Vanessa Bruno – they've all done a great maxi skirt. Also on this bandwagon are The Row (designed by the Olsen twins), with a gorgeous fitted jersey dress. And one of the best buys has to be the T by Alexander Wang split jersey skirt (see top), a sexy twist on the look. All the best maxi skirts seem to be black, though H&M’s leopard-print maxi (14.99) and Topshop’s 18 quid jersey number in khaki are fun.
I still have a floor-length silk Dries van Noten skirt in black I found at Whistles many years ago (remember when their main stores stocked the odd gem by designers too?). Silky and light as a feather, it can work with everything from a neat leather biker jacket and boots to dressier tops and heels for evening. Versatile, wearable – this trend’s got legs.
There’s another side to it, though. Stella McCartney’s billowing satin floral-print version has inspired a rash of followers and every high-street store seems to have wafty floral halterneck maxidresses in their windows just now. Which is fine if you have a holiday home in Hawaii or spend most of the year drifting around Ibiza, but acres of synthetic fabric is not going to do anyone any favours on the dirty rainy pavements of London/Dublin/Manchester…. It’s one thing to channel Jade Jagger or Talitha Getty, but quite another to end up looking like Nana Mouskouri. And many of these dresses are tiered, which makes things worse. While in Stella McCartney's hands this might look fabulous, in others it can move towards the meringue. And, rather than mask imperfections, a billowing dress will generally make the wearer look at least two dress sizes bigger. So go steady around those floral numbers.