One look at the runway, racks and red carpet imagery pouring in from the 2022 awards season and one can safely deduce that the actual drama is on the back of the outfit — from Gucci's feathered trains to Prada's satin sashes.
Summer parties call for a floor-sweeping train or a billowing cape at the back of the ensemble, as seen at Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera, Fendi and Chanel. Forget about making an entrance, it's all about a decidedly theatrical departure with designers adding details like pleating, asymmetrical hems and slithering split seams.
At the recently concluded Grammys, Lady Gaga opted for a two-toned Armani Prive creation with a floating train, while Chloe Bailey wore a Valentino, which had a floor-grazing cape and Tinashe picked a GCDS outfit, which had bow detailing on the back. Is this merely a flash in the pan or do designers see it as a key trend?
Designer Prreeti Jaiin of label Nirmooha observes that derived from the rich archival red carpet history, this style has returned with even more oomph this season. "Details like embellished bows on the back, macrame capes and tactile feathers instantly make any ensemble a talking point. An evening of unapologetic glamour calls for some high-octane theatrics and designers like Alessandro Michele have rewritten the rules of red carpet dressing with a focus on the back of the garment," says she.
The erogenous zone shifts from time to time and this summer, designers have trained their attention to the back — whether it is dramatic exaggerated bows and bustles or embellished tie-ups. “Going backless is the new cleavage. The back was a key trend in the 30s and also in the 2000s, and with the revival of Y2K backless designs, designs with back details are going to be a recurring motif in the summer of 2020,” says designer Aniket Satam.
Dakota Johnson's feathered Gucci gown at the Vanity Fair party comes to mind instantly. A floor sweeping train heightens the ‘look-at-me’ vibe of a garment and helps you stand apart at an occasion. Moreover, it adds to the opulence of the piece.
Designer Masumi Mewawalla seconds that. "Post-pandemic fashion quotient is all about being in the YOLO phase. (A train) is a quintessential modern party silhouette. Imagine Paris Hilton, Britney Spears from Y2K and now the Kardashians and Hadid sisters all sporting this cool silhouette. Best teamed with high heels and anything rhinestones or diamantes," says Masumi.
Having witnessed how the Hollywood glitterati has dialled it up a few notches on Oscar's red carpet, it will be an understatement to say that show-biz fashion is moving beyond expectations of red carpet formalwear.
Designer Ridhi Mehra says, “Making a dramatic exit with tails and trails seems to have gained a centre stage position on the red carpet with celebrated names like Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli placing their bets on those dramatic capes. Laverne Cox in custom August Getty Atelier and Ariana DeBose in Valentino Haute Couture, are similar instances that further elucidate how a dramatic departure is being embraced by celebrities and designers alike in their pursuit of self-expression, over the norm of a grand entrance.”
Designer Megha Bhansal observes, “At a time where people are stepping out after two years of staying indoors, the attendees and the spectators both missed the drama and a grand train is just the right way to make heads turn.”