Not since Scarlett O’Hara donned that green floral number for the Twelve Oaks barbeque have we really seen über-deluxe gowns with big patterns and prints — until lately. We’ve loved how ballgown designs have been branching out in recent years, shedding their status as the last holdout in the category of garments allowed to be whimsical, brash, and loud.
While bold couture ballgowns have long been a staple in editorial photo spreads, and to close fashion shows, it’s only been relatively recently they’ve made their way off the runways and into real life. Here’s a look at some of our favorite gala gowns that have broken the mold.
Sarah Jessica Parker in Oscar de la Renta
This extravagant de la Renta looked traditional enough from the front, but once SJP gave the paps their back shot, the designer’s scrawled signature took it straight to tongue-in-cheek territory. (We’re pretty fond of the double chignon she wore with it — an evening take on Princess Leia.)
Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa
This stunning Marchesa is reminiscent of Charles James’ fanciful gowns, with its over-the-top volume and dramatic sculptured shapes, but its hand-painted floral pattern is what makes it crazy in a good way. Mom had curtains like this, but so what? It works here.
Lucy Liu in Carolina Herrera
Okay, the pattern on this one resembles not so much Mom’s curtains as her 80s patio furniture but HEY, we like the dress. It’s fun and girly and princessy, Lucy’s long fishtail braid is right on point, and can we just say POCKETS.
Diane Kruger in Christian Dior Couture
Move over, Marie Antoinette: This sleeveless ballgown is notable not just for its sheer checkered pattern with lace appliqués, but for its panniers (side hoops) that make it seem like it belongs more in a 17th-century European court than on the red carpet at Cannes.
If you’re headed for a gala over the holidays, come talk to the style experts & fashion fans at Scott J. We’re always available for a consultation about what hair and makeup looks you should pair with your glamour gear, and we promise you’ll always end up on the Best Dressed list.