DiReCtOR’s cUt:
pARTy DReSSEs

Our fashion & content director reveals her favourite short and sexy dresses for summer

Words by Flora Macdonald Johnston

The best bit about summer is, of course, the weather, and with it, all the joyous accoutrements of weddings, garden parties, cocktail events and chic urban day festivals. This year in particular, I’ve been in the mood to party. Something about this summer feels more jubilant, perhaps due to the last two summers having the fear of lockdown being imposed.

In turn, I've been seeking out dresses with a little more oomph – and a little less material. I’m shaking off my winter wardrobe shackles and fully embracing mini dresses in all their shapes and glorious forms. Here are my top five of the moment to help you get into the summer party spirit.

fEATHeREd fABuLOUSNeSS

Cult Gaia have seriously upped their ready-to-wear game lately, and this ostrich feather dress with spaghetti straps is hitting all the right sartorial notes for me. This is the kind of dress that deserves a royal night out: if there's an Ibiza wedding on your calendar, this is the dress for you. Pair with statement heels (personally, I would go for a fun contrasting pink).

CULT GAIA

Zariah Dress

£1,005

fEATHeREd fABuLOUSNeSS

Cult Gaia have seriously upped their ready-to-wear game lately, and this ostrich feather dress with spaghetti straps is hitting all the right sartorial notes for me. This is the kind of dress that deserves a royal night out: if there's an Ibiza wedding on your calendar, this is the dress for you. Pair with statement heels (personally, I would go for a fun contrasting pink).

CULT GAIA

Zariah Dress

£1,005

pRINTeD pERFeCTIOn

Columbian label Agua by Agua Bendita is a summer favourite of mine thanks to their delicate feminine prints and frills, plus, all of their items are handmade by female Columbian artisans, so there’s a feel good element to their pieces too. This linen wrap skirt, with its pink and green print, is chic and retro – very Hollywood in the 50s. Wrap it around your neck to create a halterneck dress and pair with kitten heels (a crochet bandana would be the perfect accoutrement also) and you’re ready for a luncheon with friends. For the evening, simply tie around your hips, add your favourite top, and you’re all set for cocktail hour.

COPERNI

Asymmetric Mini Dress

£390

pRINTeD pERFeCTIOn

Columbian label Agua by Agua Bendita is a summer favourite of mine thanks to their delicate feminine prints and frills, plus, all of their items are handmade by female Columbian artisans, so there’s a feel good element to their pieces too. This linen wrap skirt, with its pink and green print, is chic and retro – very Hollywood in the 50s. Wrap it around your neck to create a halterneck dress and pair with kitten heels (a crochet bandana would be the perfect accoutrement also) and you’re ready for a luncheon with friends. For the evening, simply tie around your hips, add your favourite top, and you’re all set for cocktail hour.

COPERNI

Asymmetric Mini Dress

£390

eNCRUsTeD iN cRYsTAL

I’ve long been a fan of the New York-based label AREA. Their entire ethos for design has roots within 80s club culture and you can see this vitality through their crystal-adorned designs and interesting silhouettes. This black LBD with angel wing crystal-cup detailing is the ideal partner for a party whether you’re dancing in the clubs of Mykonos, or simply heading to a friend's in the city. Dancing in this dream dress is actively encouraged.

AREA

Crystal Cup Mini Dress

£790

tHInK pINk

If there’s one pet peeve I have, it’s turning up to an event in the same – or similar – outfit to another. With signature rhinestone detailing, this pink mini by NUÉ solves that issue. Firstly, it’s exclusive to us so you won’t be able to find this sparkling beauty anywhere else. Secondly, it takes a confident woman to want to adorn their bust in crystal, so go on, be her. This dress will be sure to command attention.

NUÉ

Asymmetric Spiral Crystal Cup Dress

£820

tHInK pINk

If there’s one pet peeve I have, it’s turning up to an event in the same – or similar – outfit to another. With signature rhinestone detailing, this pink mini by NUÉ solves that issue. Firstly, it’s exclusive to us so you won’t be able to find this sparkling beauty anywhere else. Secondly, it takes a confident woman to want to adorn their bust in crystal, so go on, be her. This dress will be sure to command attention.

NUÉ

Asymmetric Spiral Crystal Cup Dress

£820

rUFFLe iT Up

Not your average LBD, but that’s no surprise considering Sandra Mansour is a connoisseur of evening wear. The devil is in the gorgeous details for this dress, its eccentric oversized contrasting satin fill and cut-out detailing. This dress will bring – and be – the drama of the party.

SANDRA MANSOUR

Espoir Vert Dress

£1,330

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