For SS18, designers have created looks that are both alluring and playful: exaggerated lengths, sheer fabrics, thigh-high slits, multiple layers and clear plastics dominated the runways. At Calvin Klein, designer Raf Simons offered midi dresses and pencil skirts in sheer fabric and limpid silhouettes to give the skirts a subtle appeal. Hermès revived 1950s scarf prints to create floor-length dresses that shrouded the body, while Marc Jacobs and Erdem paired full skirts with bow-high gloves.
For their SS18 collection, Justin Thornton and partner Thea Bregazzi of Preen were inspired by “this feeling of anarchy in the world” and drew on other periods of history that have been tough for women. Their puritan-inspired collection was an ode to Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter, with high-collar shirts embroidered with a red “A”, and models in bonnets. But dowdy this was not: a pale turquoise organza camisole dress that fell inches below the knee had tiers of ruffles, and the long skirts were offset with négligées and bare shoulders.
The real magic of the longer style is in its accessibility. Polish designer Magda Butrym started her namesake brand two years ago and has swiftly become a cult label thanks to her long voluminous silhouettes in vivid patterns and colours. “Our bestsellers are the mid-length dresses,” she says. “Women just love them! That is why, in my collections you can find dresses that are deconstructed, so they look more cool and modern.” Butrym plays with different proportions; her Sevilla asymmetric silk-crepe, midi dress (£1,325) has all the elements of a covered ball gown mixed with a cold-shoulder sleeve and miniskirt hemline.
For those unsure about a longer length, the Polish/Parisienne blogger Marta Cygan has a few styling tips: “It is about getting the right balance between volume and length. Style a long skirt or dress with a turtleneck or perfect white T-shirt and pair with sandals or flat shoes for a more modern look than heels.”
For work, try Lemaire, which offers a perfect wool-wrap skirt with handkerchief detailing (from €570), or Joseph, which offers a great cream silk Laurel skirt with kick flare (£595). There’s also fabulous versions at Victoria Beckham. The designer, who stopped wearing denim minis years ago, has made the length her own signature style — proof that even the most petite of people can work a longer look.