“Does it spark joy?” has, in recent years, become an all-encompassing question thanks to the acclaimed queen of minimalism, Marie Kondo. The broad concept being that a decluttered, mindfully curated life is a happier one. We could all do with more joy in our lives, and sometimes that really can be achieved by something as simple as reorganizing your sweater drawer or color coding your underwear collection. But alongside this need for order, we all sometimes need to dial up the razzle-dazzle, and embrace the power of fashion to transform and delight. And as we move through challenging times and seismic global changes, it’s perhaps more necessary than ever to allow ourselves a space to be playful and dream big.
In recent seasons, the oversized dress has shifted from an avant-garde statement to a genuine solution for after-dark dressing. And particularly on those occasions when you want to own a room, the voluminous nature of these pieces enables you to literally take up space, thus giving the notion of power dressing a whole new spin. The first time I wore such a dress, a yellow floral Richard Quinn number to host a big event, I really did feel utterly transformed, giving me just the bounce and confidence I needed to own the room that night, and I have been a big dress convert ever since.
Molly Goddard’s name is synonymous with this look (who can forget that glorious pink iteration worn by Villanelle in the first series of Killing Eve), and her primrose-yellow tulle version shown on the catwalk at her spring/summer show was nothing short of magical. Cecilie Bahnsen and Simone Rocha are also my favorite go-to brands for some “big dress energy”. Overall, these dresses really do feel like forever pieces that give a whole new meaning to the expression “fashion as art”.
In the lexicon of transformational dressing, feathers are always a winner. So whether you opt for minimalist drama with a single black feather artfully placed in your hair à la Dries Van Noten, or a full-voltage “making an entrance”-length ostrich cape/dress from Noir Kei Ninomiya. or a myriad of options in between, feathers can’t fail to bring an air of majesty and magic to any outfit. And with my sustainability head on, may I suggest looking for vintage finds as well. Much kinder to the planet and even more fabulous by being one-off pieces that no one else in the room will have.
Or how about being the main act in your very own “costume drama”? Take inspiration from the heady romance of Erdem’s billowing floral silk gowns or the majestic Madame Butterfly looks at Comme des Garcons, or simply swap out your black evening shoe for a brocade version from Miu Miu; these are pieces to really make an entrance in, and embrace your inner drama queen.
Metallics and bling are always a good go-to for injecting a dose of magic into your look. Prada’s metallic gold leather skirt suit is the ultimate statement in all-out bling, or consider an embellished detail such as the JW Anderson Grecian-style crystal belts seen at his recent show. Then there’s the simplicity of a single oversized embellished earring, which will instantly elevate a simple cocktail dress from functional to fabulous. Or, for the ultimate transformative beauty statement, how about trying a gold Cleopatra-style eye á la Valentino for some transformative after-dark allure?
And sometimes it’s just about a color pop to transform your mood and your look. Take inspiration from Marc Jacobs and trade in your black evening palazzo pants for a sunshine-yellow version. Or bring the party in a popping red-and-pink color combo with something from Roksanda Illincic. Alternatively, how about injecting some rockstar pizzaz into your ensemble with an electric blue platform boot from Gucci? Just try it and see how you feel. In short, no matter what you choose to do this month, just make sure you give yourself permission to spark joy and bring the magic. And don’t forget to smile.
Find Anne-Marie Curtis on Instagram.