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Item of the week: the figure-hugging maxi

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: Desigual, Na-kd, Michael Kors

What it is:

The dress silhouette of the year has to be the figure-hugging maxi, so called for its ability to wrap around the body in a flattering way. The dress itself is often elasticated, giving it the ability to take the shape of the figure it sits on, and reaches down to the ankles, either then flaring out or remaining skin tight. Other iterations have also seen this dress style incorporate cut-out panels, ruched detailings or slits around the leg, giving the look variety depending on what the customer is looking for.

Image: Karl Lagerfeld

Why you’ll want it:

As the eveningwear and eventwear categories begin to regain pace, dresses have also been on the rise as the leading garment in this segment. This means that styles such as the figure-hugging maxi have begun to lead the way, offering up an alternative dress style for those needing to attend events in the coming months. However, while this is a large part of such a silhouette, many of these maxis also come in minimalist forms, also allowing for them to be worn in a casual setting, bringing them into the daywear wardrobe throughout the year as an elevated staple.

Image: By-Bar Amsterdam

Where we’ve seen it:

On the runway, designers played with this highly adaptable silhouette, many showing an array of variations of what a figure hugging maxi could be. One that truly took experimentation to its core was Givenchy, which displayed everything from colourful printed turtle neck knits to clean cut minimal black dresses that swept the floor. Jil Sander was another to blur the lines, offering up a form-fitting maxi in both fluffy metallic materials and pastel hues. Meanwhile, at Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana the maxi dress stuck firmly to eveningwear, either in sheeny metallics or inspired by lingerie in a sheer stretch fabric.

Image: Madewell

How to style it:

The figure-hugging maxi is a look that can stand alone if in spring or summer, simply paired with layered necklaces and a handbag to bring the outfit together. The dress works well with an array of shoe types depending on the time of day, with sneakers fitting just as well as strappy sandals, making it adjustable to the occasion. If the dress is to be worn in the colder months, pair it with either under- or overlayers, such as a turtleneck sweater or an oversized knit. Here it is also possible to add a long-line coat, such as a trench style or leather-like pea jacket. Finish the look off with chunky boots for the daytime or pointed heels for the evening.

Image: Stella McCartney

The figure-hugging maxi is a dress style that takes the wearer into every season, and comes in a variety of forms to cater to an array of occasions. The look is a flattering silhouette for both the fashion-forward consumer and those simply looking for comfort.

Image: Na-kd

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Item of the Week
Karl Lagerfeld
Stella McCartney