There are few events in life that provoke such polarizing reactions as the memory of prom — from a nostalgic sigh to eye-widening horror. The recollections are often a window into the adolescent soul: Were you a rah-rah girly girl, besotted with the quarterback and posing for snapshots on the lawn in a pastel gown? Or were you the kohl-eyed loner, donning Doc Martens with your slipdress? For some designers, of course, prom is big business, and those lingering memories of boutonnieres and crinoline can be ample inspiration for a designer's next line.
"It was absolutely about the petticoat for me," says Betsey Johnson, a perennial go-to designer at prom time (her spring show was themed "Prom Queen"). "I wore a pale blue organza silver embroidered tutu dress. I think I stuck out almost horizontally," says Johnson. "That dress has been a total inspiration for my prom dresses, which are always our bestsellers. So many people in the business tell me they wore my dress to the prom. But I'm careful to do a range of looks, from sophisticated sheaths to that classic half-puffy dress."
For many designers, that seminal high school gala was a chance to showcase a nascent (and, perhaps, not entirely typical) sense of style. "I wore a tuxedo," says Cynthia Rowley, who was already used to raising eyebrows in small-town Illinois (she rented the tux her senior year, but sewed her own dresses for every other school dance). "Girls now are so sophisticated, but I only make short dresses, so I'm flattered [when] they wear them to prom," Rowley says. Tory Burch went straight for the big time and wore an Yves Saint Laurent gown her mom picked out for her prom at her all-girls Pennsylvania high school. "It was black tulle on the bottom and pink sequins on top, sort of blush-colored," she says. "People liked it, although it was sort of crazy for the prom." According to Burch, her georgette sequined Karl dress and Hamilton tank dress made it to many a parquet dance floor this season.
"My mom made my dress," admits Dallas-bred Lela Rose, noting that the strapless petal-pink gown was based on a Vogue pattern. "It was very Eighties, and I ruined it. I spilled all kinds of stuff on it, and it just got trashed." The same goes for Vena Cava's Lisa Mayock, who wore a Thirties-style peach silk georgette slipdress to her Los Angeles prom in the late Nineties, only to have it fall apart on her — literally — halfway through the night. "There was definitely some skin showing where it shouldn't have been," she says. "Come to think of it, it looked much cooler afterward." (Adds Mayock's partner, Sophie Buhai: "I wore a black lace deco dress and a faded blue zip-up sweatshirt. My date had a black orchid flown in from Indonesia for me to wear. I think he really understood me.")Erin Fetherston picked a Thirties-style bias-cut gown, though hers was from Bergdorf's, and she flew from Northern California to New York to get it. "I remember hiking around the Garment District and flower district to incorporate pieces into the dress," she says. There are regrets, however. "If I were to do prom again, I would do something short or more playful or with a giant tutu. But I guess I wanted to be a glamour girl." Sari Gueron eschewed the preppy Laura Ashley florals of suburban Connecticut for a short, ruffled black dress she bought at a vintage store. "It was pretty and sexy and, mostly, I felt comfortable in it," she says.
Of course, girls aren't the only ones for whom prom attire is a fashion statement. Robert Tagliapietra and Jeffrey Costello of Costello Tagliapietra both wore vintage tuxedo jackets to their proms, with Tagliapietra pairing jeans with his jacket. Costello, who opted for the full tux and whose prom was in 1979, claims he was simply "having a New Wave moment."
Behnaz Sarafpour had a bubble skirt moment, inspired by a YSL dress from that season — a navy blue duchesse satin number that she sewed herself. "As I remember," she says, "bubble skirts were pretty hot in 1987."
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews