Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Dark at the end of the tunnel

At Browns: 'There is a huge demand by our customers for evening dresses with sleeves which we can't meet because we haven't got the stock. The designers aren't making them.'

At Donna Karan: 'Anything with sleeves sells out the day it comes in in the larger sizes.’

At Harvey Nichols/Harrods/Alberta Ferretti: 'No. Nothing. Only have left in in XS. Sold out. Don't stock. Have you tried . . .'

At the press day for Anya Hindmarch SS09 (three fashion editors): 'Black tie is a nightmare if you want sleeves.'

23 comments:

Toby Wollin said...

There is something out of whack here in terms of the old business mantra of "find a need and fill it". I don't know if Harvey Nicks et al. do any private label collections, but it seems to me that this is one of those areas that's a 'can't miss with this' prospect. Unless of course they have agreements that they won't do anything that competes with their designer vendors. I realize that no one wants to be known as a designer who does stuff that is loved and worn by "the over 40 club", but it seems to me that someone out there is really missing a bet by not coming up with some cocktail dress and gown designs with sleeves.

rb said...

I put my arms away when I turned 40. I attend two black tie events every December and have had the WORST time finding anything with sleeves. Many women wear shawls but they are awkward, particularly if you want to dance. I have ended up usually wearing two-piece ensembles, which unfortunately tend to fall into Mother of the Bride category, and I'm too young for that. SO what I'm saying is I feel your pain and am waiting to see what you come up with! (P.S. try ebay)

Deja Pseu said...

Designers not designing clothes that women want to wear? I'm shocked, shocked! I tell you, to find this is going on.

[/sarcasm]

Seriously, though, whatever designer or brand can tap into stylish clothes for women over 40 is going to be able to print their own money.

Rose said...

I'm following your blog from Silicon Valley, CA. I do not lead as glamorous a life as you (sigh) but I enjoy reading your blog. Is it possible for you to hire someone to sew/design a dress for you? this might be a neat solution for problem. Of course, searching for the right dress is more than half the fun...

Robo said...

Yeah, I never got why evening dresses had to all be sleeveless. Or if they had sleeves, look Mother-of-the-Bride-ish as rb said. Obviously not everyone can or wants to go sleevless or strapless (for summer dresses, too). Then again, when have designers actually listened to what real women want?

Anonymous said...

Alter a gown, to add long sleeves. In a contrasting color and fabric (raw silk?) so it looks that they are not meant to match. Gather at the shoulder, to add some poufiness. -K

Anonymous said...

Think that's bad? Try finding a wedding dress with sleeves -- even in the winter collections, they're nearly all sleeveless or strapless. And while I believe all brides are beautiful in their own way, some of us would rather not have our chicken cutlets out there waving in the breeze on our big day. Sigh.

Linda Grant said...

I have one more try, today, at Liberty. In the meantime I have emailed Avsh Alom Gur at Ossie Clark to see if he can help.

greying pixie said...

Linda, is it not possible that a fashion house (Jaeger?) would like the exposure of such a high profile occasion to lend you a dress? They are a British label, this is a British prize, the whole thing could be very mutually beneficial.

Why don't you contact their PR office while there is still time?

Linda Grant said...

Jaeger was my first port of call. They don't have anything suitable. No evening dresses with sleeves and no jackets that would work with my dress.

Linda Grant said...

And I have looked at every single designer stocked at H Nicks and Harrods that does evening wear. The only one that does have a few long dresses with sleeves is Donna Karan which comes in S M L and they have nothing in L. In general designers loan samples, in sample size.

miss cavendish said...

Fingers crossed for Liberty!

Anonymous said...

If you can't find the dress, exercise those triceps to tighten the bingo wing..

Tins of beans held behind the head ladies. One, two three, straigthen arm, then bend... 3 reps of 10 every day..

Will tighten and tone before you know it. The tricep makes up 2/3 of the arm thats why it flops!

miss cavendish said...

I just saw a beautiful Ossie Clark dress on Susy Menkes for the NYT: aubergine v (with long sleeves) at the very top, followed by a flowing cobalt long skirt with a flower. This appeared to be an overlay, worn over a slip dress. I thought it was elegant and wearable . . .

Anonymous said...

Have you tried just googling long sleeved evening dresses London and seeing what comes up?

Marti said...

Does Norstrom ship to England? Some of these have sleeves or jackets.

http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/6014133/0~2376776~2374327~2374331~6014133?cm_cat=091808&cm_pla=general_dresses&cm_ite=dress&cm_em=5318462&cm_ven=email

If you can't access from this address, just go to www.Norstrom.com, then dress shop, then occasion dresses.

If Nordstrom won't ship, perhaps you can find these designers on your side of the pond?

dana said...

This conundrum highlights (floodlights) the original shopping paradox. If an item is wanted, needed, and funded, it will not be found. If none of the above, it will find you.

Kai Jones said...

Have you tried searching for "modest" or "frum" clothing?

Funky Frum has some nice dresses, along with long-sleeved blouses that could be combined with a formal skirt.

There are some great dresses at Junees.com.

Marti said...

Kai Jones - How do you collapse a long web address into one word? I didn't see any options when I posted.

Thanks

Kai Jones said...

You have to know a tiny little bit of HTML:

At the beginning and end of the URL, type these character strings (but take out all the "#" signs, the only spaces should be the one between the "a" and the "href" and any in your words:

<#a href#=#"[type or paste url here]">[type the words you want here]<#/#a#>

janlorraine said...

Your dilemma reminds me of Maggie Tolliver who found herself in need of sleeves for an evening gown toward the end of the book when she is all grown up and visiting her cousin Lucy Clegg. Do you remember? She tacked on lace sleeves and made quite a fashion statement. I still think you should find a dressmaker.

Arabella said...

I doubt this will work for you Linda, as I don't think vintage is your style but it might be useful to another reader experiencing the arm exposure thing:
very high-end vintage so the condition is impeccable and the original fabric the best of its time. 1940s floor length evening gowns often have long sleeves, flattering necklines and/or matching bolero. 1950s cocktail dresses, rather than floor length gowns, often have flattering elbow length sleeves.

Tina said...

I have a lovely sleeved evening dress bought from Marina Rinaldi on Old Bond Street a couple of years ago - I'm a size 18. Its black bias-cut velvet with a deep V neck and black net sleeves embroidered with black sequins, its the most flattering dress I've ever owned. I also have another lovely (sleeved) silk chiffon dress with an underslip that I bought from the same place for a wedding. Perhaps the MR designers understand that the "larger lady" is a tad paranoid about her upper arms - its part of MaxMara and starts at size 14, which is hardly huge.