'I'm not even wearing a long dress on my wedding day, so why should I have to wear one to your event?' That's my standard response when I attend a 'white tie' event and face confrontation for the fact that my dress doesn't even come close to reaching my knee. I don't know why i'm so against wearing a long dress. Maybe I find the obligation to go floor-length restrictive and dated; maybe I value my legs too much (unlikely!!); or maybe I just don't think it works for me. I've never actually even tried one on in the 22 years i've been on this planet so maybe i'm just being narrow-minded, but either way, one of my greatest fashion fears is the long dress.
So you can imagine my horror when I received my invitation to the Oxford Fashion Week Couture Show and saw the words 'DRESS CODE: WHITE TIE' emblazoned across it. I had been fully intending to do an Alexa Chung/Erin Wasson and slum it in my denim hot pants and leather jacket, but it was not meant to be. I compromised with my Vanessa Bruno strapless dress (short of course) and Chanel jacket, and kept a low profile during the Champagne reception. Thankfully I was not alone in my boycotting of the white tie dress code, but I still felt pretty awkward amongst all the mainly horrible and old-fashioned floor-length ball gowns (I would like to take this opportunity to exempt my friend Irina Higgins from this rather scathing generalisation, who looked positively stunning in Alexander McQueen...photos to come when I find my camera cable...). Not only do I not like the look for myself, but I think very few people can actually find the right dress and carry it off...I can honestly say i've seen about 10 successful attempts in my whole entire life (Irina included!).
Perhaps my bias towards the floor-length gown was why I left the show itself feeling slightly underwhelmed. I couldn't have been more impressed with the effort that had gone into the production of the show, and i'm 100% glad that I went - it was certainly a spectacle, and maybe that's what couture is all about. But there was not a single dress that made me go 'Yes, I have to have that!!!', and not once did I feel inclined to clap along with the rest of the audience when a model emerged. The photos below are what I consider to be some of the more beautiful creations that we saw on the night (apart from the Dar Sara wedding dress, second from bottom - the photograph makes it look remarkably less tacky than it was in the flesh); I am always captivated by Matthew Williamson's prints and designs, even though I probably wouldn't wear them myself, and some of the simpler designs (the first and last pictured below) were unarguably gorgeous from an objective perspective.
Maybe I chose the wrong show to attend. I felt as though I stuck out like a sore thumb from the second I arrived, and although I thought some of the clothes were quite nice, I was clearly missing something that every other person in the room could see. I fully accept that this is probably because I am still very young and not mature enough to appreciate the glamour and beauty apparently inherent within the long dress. Hopefully one day i'll stop being so stubborn and give in to the trend!
All things said, enjoy this selection of beautiful photographs taken by Jake Galson...
All images courtesy of Jake Galson Photography
Until next time... xo xo