Valentine’s Day, it comes but once a year and with it a feeling of dread for singles who awkwardly pace supermarkets, offices and just about every other public space bedecked in love heart and cupid motifs and for the ones lucky enough to be coupled up, a different type of fear over what exactly makes an appropriate Valentine’s gift. Somewhat ironically, for a day that’s all about celebrating love, a lot of us have some pretty negative feelings towards the holiday, but whether you love it or hate it, you might as well dress for the occasion, right?
Whether you’ve got a hot date with a new beau or an old flame, or maybe a night out with your single ladies, take your style cues from the spring/summer ’16 runways by embracing a romantic look this February 14th. This isn’t the romance that you’re used to though, no flouncy frills and blush tones here, thanks – the new romance is darker, more subversive than subservient and perfect as a sartorial eyebrow raise to the cutesy commercialism of Valentine’s Day.
The most literal translation of “romance” from September’s round of fashion shows can be found in the burgeoning underwear-as-outerwear trend, which saw designers going wild for lingerie staples reimagined to be as fit for the streets as they are the sheets. The likes of Givenchy, Céline and Burberry shone amongst a sea of reworked slip dresses, a veritable 90’s staple, elevated to be more grown up, more “put-together” than “suburban grunge”. Céline’s monochrome offerings with delicate and super-sheer lace handiwork, and Givenchy’s more outwardly raunchy offerings in deep burgundy and black satin, worn with relaxed tuxedo jackets were perfect examples of the new, more cynical take on romance.
Elsewhere, “romantic” essentials like floral prints were getting a much needed update too. In London, Giles Deacon took a historical turn and, inspired by the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, adorned classic silhouettes like the empire waist, strapless gown and a thigh-split dress that Angelina Jolie would be proud of, with a mix of wild botanical prints with frayed detailing – evoking a tension between delicate sensibility and tough girl attitude that might be a fair metaphor for certain aspects of our modern dating lives. With their classic shapes and modern prints and embellishment, these were basically the Valentine’s Day gowns that dreams are made of.
Floral prints were also centre stage at Alexander McQueen, albeit in a more traditionally prim style. This season, Sarah Burton took the Victoriana-influence that’s become something of a signature for the house and ran with it. There were demure high necks and ruffled shoulders – actually, ruffles everywhere, but we’ll come back to that – buttoned bodices and perfectly flowing dresses as well as plenty of understated sex appeal in the form of sheer lace and bare shoulders.
So, now we come to the elephant in the room – ruffles. We know we said earlier there was no flounce, but that’s not strictly true, after all, what’s romance without a little bit of froth?! However, these ruffles are different – no longer are designers looking towards the slightly embarrassing, overzealous 80s prom-dress style ruffles but more towards clever, deconstructed versions. At Marques Almeida, as well as the house of McQueen, exaggerated, shredded ruffles were the look du jour, with the former’s threadbare, tiered denim making the perfect Valentine’s dress for a daytime jaunt or casual date.
Alice McCall Dress, Elle Zeitoune Dress; Alice McCall Playsuit – All available to rent from GlamCorner
If you’re still not sure what to wear for whatever your Valentine ’s Day plans, or anti-Valentine’s protests, may entail, consider hiring a dress from GlamCorner. Have a look at our Valentine’s Day collection and get your very own dark romance started.