Why fashion is plotting a tulle takeover this season

Get ready to forget everything you thought you knew about the frou-frou farbic 

Sarah Young
Wednesday 12 July 2017 20:01 BST
Comments
Molly Goddard has championed the material ever since her first show back in S/S 2014
Molly Goddard has championed the material ever since her first show back in S/S 2014 (Getty)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

While classic fabric staples like cotton, linen and silk will no doubt be on the agenda this summer there is another, somewhat unlikely, textile trending both on and off the runway – tulle.

Traditionally reserved for wedding veils and tutus, the tulle takeover is in full swing. But forget frills and flounce because for 2017, the ballerina staple has had a high fashion makeover.

Across the board, designers interpreted the fabric in two very different ways – romantic and rebellious – pairing the delicate material with everything from oriental florals to sportswear and slogan t-shirts.

Now, to discuss tulle without first acknowledging the so-called Molly Goddard effect would be ludicrous. After all, the young London-based designer has championed the fabric ever since her first show back in Spring/Summer 2014.

Goddard always rises to the occasion and having built a brand on frou-frou party dresses, her latest offering did not disappoint.

Here, she cited New York’s underground club scene as her typically saccharine girls headed for an all-night rave. There were neon tulle dresses worn with t-shirts featuring photography by Nick Waplington, giant fluro-green crinoline skirts and sheer netted gowns cut asymmetrically at both the neck and the hem.

Dior turned what is considered to be one of the most girlish fabrics right on its head
Dior turned what is considered to be one of the most girlish fabrics right on its head (Getty Images for Dior)

But, we all knew Goddard would deliver. What was interesting here was to see how other brands took on tulle.

For her debut at Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri – the first woman ever to be in charge as creative director – reflected on what it means to be feminine in today’s world. And as such, turned what is considered to be one of the most girlish fabrics right on its head.

Dress with Tulle Frills, £25.99, zara.com
Dress with Tulle Frills, £25.99, zara.com

The designer paired floor-sweeping black tulle skirts with faded slogan tees, one of them reading, “We should all be feminists,” while other models appeared wearing their fluffy skirts with masculine padded jackets, skeletal corseting and leather.

Similarly, Marques’ Almeida and Saint Laurent ditched the material’s delicacy proving that tulle need not be confined to typically girlish pieces. For Spring/Summer 2017, Marques’ Almeida presented long tulle sleeves emerging from t-shirts, blooming waistcoats and even a shimmering denim two-piece.

Black Tulle Midi Skirt, £27.99, newlook.com
Black Tulle Midi Skirt, £27.99, newlook.com

Saint Laurent injected its racy offering with a spin on 1980s revival that saw swathes of tulle draping from the rear of tuxedo dresses and tucked into high waisted leather skirts.

So, how can you wear tulle IRL without looking like a wannabe ballerina? Well, the trick here is to completely ditch all associations with it being a symbol of idealised femininity.

Mesh Ruffle Top, £20, monki.com
Mesh Ruffle Top, £20, monki.com

Instead, take your cue from the runway and pair your black midi length tulle skirt with a graphic tee, a pair of flat mules or even some classic white tennis shoes.

That being said, saccharine hues aren’t completely off the cards – just make sure to toughen them up by perhaps slipping a bralette underneath a sheer number or wear with another totally unexpected colour.

Tulle Dress, £149.99, hm.com
Tulle Dress, £149.99, hm.com
Needle & Thread, Tulle Maxi Skirt, £120, net-a-porter.com
Needle & Thread, Tulle Maxi Skirt, £120, net-a-porter.com
Tulle Sleeveless Midi Dress, £24, topshop.com
Tulle Sleeveless Midi Dress, £24, topshop.com

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in