School leavers are desperate to make a real fashion statement in a head-turning dress. We unveil the latest on-trend colours and fabrics to choose from
Words Jessica Brown
Read more: latest groomswear trends.
Prom season is on the horizon and this year there’s a real shift in what dresses teenage shoppers are looking for. While all girls want to ﬁnd that perfect dress, making a big fashion statement is very much top priority. From elegant ﬁshtails to ﬂowing lace gowns, prom dresses are getting more and more lavish with boutiques stocking a variety of designers and price ranges.
Christine Joneja, designer at Crystal Breeze, explains the changing trend. She says: “Teenagers are looking for something more sleek and elegant than puﬀ ball, baby doll dresses that were popular years ago. The emerging trend is mid-drift cutaways and open backs, dresses that are glamorous and daring. Girls want to look like their favourite celebrity at a ﬂashy awards ceremony. They are looking for ﬁgure-hugging dresses and elegant gowns with trains. Short dresses have been phased out.”
Dress shopping for some students is almost a race as they want to be the ﬁrst at school to get the dress, excitedly telling their friends about the colour, cut and length. “Strong vibrant colours are in this season,” continues Christine. “Deep reds, blues, purples and greens. Black is also making a comeback. The main fabric choice is jersey stretch or a satin crepe as they are heavier so drape well. Chiﬀon and pastel colours are becoming less and less popular.”
Lucas Chrysanthou from Zoey Grey UK agrees, commenting: “The ‘Bardot’ oﬀ-the-shoulder neckline has been the big winner especially in heavy jersey fabrics either plain or mixed with lace and/or sparkle. Our designs are elegant, stylish and guaranteed to turn heads! Full-length gowns in heavier jersey type fabrics such as ponte and neoprene have sold extremely well, too. This season is about simplicity with focus on the fabric and silhouette.”
School leavers are getting more adventurous with their styles and colour choices reveals Daniel Saul from Frank Saul Fashions. He comments: “Our silhouettes are always sexy and these dresses always sell. Girls are choosing more ﬂamboyant styles and I would say dusty rose is one of our most popular colours. Our most popular dresses are the ones with textured fabric, intricate lace and speciality beading.”
Many teenagers are anxious about the event and want to get their dress early allowing enough time to ﬁnd the perfect matching accessories.
Designers from Prom Frocks say: “This season the dresses are a lot more ﬁgure hugging and ﬁtted, the styles are glitzier and there are a bigger variety of backless gowns and designs with see through tulle backs. Girls are also very keen on dresses that are encrusted with sparkly crystal beading and small ﬁshtails. We have noticed dresses with side splits have become a lot less popular, while blackcurrant, navy and deep rich hues are very on trend.”
Inspired by social media and red carpet celebrities, school leavers are now going all out to ﬁnd a show-stopping, elegant dress. Lilly Moseley from Cizzy Bridal reveals they have only released one prom gown in their collection this year. Lilly says: “The gown from Zavana Bridal features a very ﬂattering silhouette with a low neck and back, it is completely covered in black sequins that sparkle as they catch the light. We’ve seen this sequin fabric emerging as a trend on the red carpet, it’s deﬁnitely a real head turner.”
Graham Connell from Morilee adds: “Our bestselling colour was aubergine, although blush and champagne were also popular. We’ve seen a move away from the large tulle ball gown with girls choosing a more sophisticated and slimmer look in subtle colours, inspired by the style of celebrities.”
To ensure no two girls from the same school wear the same prom dress, boutique owners buy dresses from designers that will be exclusive to their store only. The designers from Prom Frocks explain: “This is a very, very big deal to all teenagers. We make a massive eﬀort to only sell one dress to each school, we know girls don’t want to turn up in a dress someone else is wearing. Every single shop we sell to carries a book and ﬁle of who’s bought that dress and from which school. Exclusivity is key and highly important.”
Lucas Chrysanthou concludes: “We oﬀer an exclusivity area to stop any repeat sales. You’ll ﬁnd that many girls post their dress on social media, too, which can also help so other girls don’t buy the same dress.”