Fashion: A simple dress is hard to beat: Scrunch it, roll it, crease it . . . this summer's essential dress combines easy fabrics with an enduring appeal, says Marion Hume

THE DRESS is the undisputed essential garment for this summer. The faded, floral dress, the chiffon, floaty dress, the nightdress worn layered over another nightdress in daylight hours and the second-hand dress worn with clumpy boots are already stamped as the fashion looks for summer 1993. For those who don't follow fashion slavishly, the other kind of dress - the one you love that comes out year after year the minute the temperature hints at rising - will be viewed as not just comfortable and easy this time around, but also as the height of fashion.

If that much-loved little dress has reached the stage when you can only wear it for gardening, this is the year to replace it. Fashion designers - from Donna Karan and Agnes B to John Rocha and the unnamed designers behind the offerings of the high-street giants - have dubbed this The Year of the Dress, so there is plenty of choice.

What to look for in a new 'favourite' dress is one that will work hard and demand nothing. Choose a dress you can mistreat horribly, that will never ask for care and attention.

One of the best fabrics to choose is linen, especially in this summer of 'New Mood' dressing, in which creases are seen not as something to be flattened into submission, but as interesting surface texture. Avant- garde designers including Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester and Comme des Garcons, are offering clothes that revel in their scrunched-up, crinkled and creased surfaces. John Rocha's white button-fronted dress wrinkles within minutes of putting it on and still looks fresh and pretty.

Washed silk is one of the great summer fabrics. It is cool and breezy, takes on lustrous colour but, because it has already been treated to a few tumbles in an industrial washing machine, it is far less demanding than straight silk.

But best of all in terms of wearability is viscose. It produces fluid, floppy, easy clothes that can be awesomely maltreated yet come out looking good. The British company Ghost has built its 10-year success story on viscose. The little white-eyelet viscose dress seen here on a desert road started off as 'grey cloth', which is unfinished and undyed. Ghost garments are made up huge, then washed and dyed - a process in which they shrink by 45 per cent, and gain density, texture and elasticity.

After that, you can throw them in the washing machine or beat them clean on a far- flung river bank - I know, I have. And, as they are so light and roll up so small, you can fit a lot of them in one small travelling bag - I know, I did. As Tanya Sarne, the design director and managing director of Ghost explains, 'We are very much a summer company. We always do well with our summer clothes, which are not designed by men dictating to women what they should wear but by a bunch of women who want to say, 'Here's a pile of clothes, wear them as you will and show your individuality'. They don't take you over or take your time.'

Designer Marina Avraam agrees. She included the black halter-neck dress in viscose crepe in her summer collection (seen here in the sparse shade of one of California's Joshua trees) because she wanted something 'easy, and cool that could be rolled up for travelling but had ample fabric to flow. Nothing folds or rolls up small quite like viscose.'

(Photographs omitted)

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine