The fashion world has fallen head over heels for this loose,elegant shape. Meadhbh McGrath recommends adding a little romance to your wardrobe ahead of Valentine’s Day
Is bodycon finally dead?
The Kardashians and Love Island stars may be keeping the cling alive, but in the real world, fashion has a new crush - the tiered dress. Admittedly, this silhouette already had a major moment last summer with Zara's viral polka dot midi, but now high end and high street have reached a consensus, and tiered styles are dominating at every price point.
The Guardian christened it the "Chrysler silhouette" after the iconic New York skyscraper and hailed it as the first defining look of the new decade.
And just a few weeks into 2020, it's already made an impression: tiered gowns are a red-carpet regular, but this awards season, they've proved to be the standout looks.
There was Ariana Grande's sombre grey Giambattista Valli concoction at the Grammys, and Valentino's vibrant tangerine tiers on Kathryn Newton and Lizzo at the Screen Actors Guild and American Music Awards, respectively - not to mention Gwyneth Paltrow's regrettable brown Fendi frills at the Golden Globes...
In the spring-summer collections, tiered dresses reigned at both the more established houses - floor-sweeping black organza and tulle at Chanel, creamy silk taffeta combined with a wide leather belt and boots at Alexander McQueen, plus an eye-popping array of highlighter hues at Valentino - and the exciting new names.
British designer Molly Goddard, who created the bright pink layered tulle gown made famous by Villanelle on Killing Eve, rendered her best-known style in coral, yellow and bright blue, while Scandinavian street-style favourites Cecilie Bahnsen, Stine Goya and Ganni provided a variety of textured and printed tiered dresses at Copenhagen Fashion Week.
The prettiest versions came courtesy of Simone Rocha, who drew inspiration from the tradition of the wren-boys, imagining the interiors of the homes they visited and applying delicate blue china and chintzy floral patterns to her gorgeous tiered designs.
The playful volume demands attention, yet the loose, wide shape is a welcome reprieve from the usual figure-hugging frocks. It's a simple silhouette, but one that is supremely comfortable and so easy to wear. See German influencer Xenia Adonts in breezy black Marc Jacobs, with a sleek pair of lace-up boots.
Black is a good place to start with this look, as the muted shade allows the tiered shape to shine. It's versatile enough to dress up with heels (try a chunky pair of platforms, making a return this season), smarten up with boots or pare it back with trainers, a denim jacket and a cross-body bag.
You can go as big and bold as you like with this look - Stine Goya styled its tiered dresses with vivid printed tights, and layered shorter ones over trousers like a tunic.
Katy Perry opted for a hot pink coat dress by Lela Rose last week in London, embellished with crystal buttons down the front. It was typically bright and fun for the pop singer, and further evidence that fashion is moving away from the decree that its wearers must look as thin as possible.
This may be a hurdle for some, but that's part of the charm of this dress: it won't make you look slimmer, it won't accentuate your waist and it won't create the illusion of a longer, leaner figure.
It's not conventionally 'flattering', if you consider that word to mean 'makes you look thin'. But it is fabulously chic, dreamily romantic and very modern. Even more than that, it's relaxing: a dress you can walk in, eat in and breathe in - and isn't that the most enticing thing of all?
With 2020 billed as the "super year" for the environment, many of us may be feeling it's time to step up our own efforts to protect the planet. Cheering on Greta Thunberg on Twitter is all very well - less so when you're also scrolling through fast-fashion sites to load up on €5 dresses.
Last month, the British department store John Lewis cut the ribbon on a new makeup counter at its Oxford Street flagship. The shelves were lined with neat rows of foundation, concealer, bronzer and a variety of brushes and sponges, with one notable difference from the counters surrounding it: this was exclusively for men.