This year’s spring should be remembered as the season we fell out of love with mini skirts. The current fashion moment is entirely devoted to the obscuring of legs — say Polly Vernon in The Sunday Times.
The campaign began at Chloe’s Spring/Summer 2011 Paris fashion week show, when Hannah MacGibbon, the creative director, sent a series of midi and maxi length, pleated, nude colour skirts wafting down her catwalk — skirts over which fashion editors immediately began to rhapsodise, and which “were the first pieces to sell out in store”, says Ros Leach, head of womenswear at Selfridges (never mind the £1,200 price tag).
Other designers subscribed to maxi lengths: Lanvin, Erdem, Olivier Theyskens for Theory, Rick Owens and Richard Nicoll, Stella McCartney, even the famously flashy and gratuitously sexy Roberto Cavalli.
Then Whistles launched Carrie and the more fashion-obsessed women of Britain began subscribing to the longer-skirt movement in earnest.
But why? It’s predicated on two factors. First, the pure, unarguable collective will of the country’s fashion editors. They wanted it to be this way — for reasons known only to them — and so it is.
When I see someone wearing really short now, it just looks wrong. Like they forgot to put their skirt on,” says Melanie Rickey, Grazia’s fashion editor at large. “Anyway, I love this skirt because of the twirl factor.” You cannot twirl a mini.
The second factor is ease. Don’t get me wrong: the midi and the maxi are not effortless wears. They take consideration, astute styling and enlightened footwear choices. But they do provide another kind of ease. The transition from winter into spring fashion is a traumatic one. One’s body is rarely prepared for the degree of exposure involved. It takes a week or three to get used to it in daylight and public.
Photo: Chloe SS11 collection