Why copy a celeb when you can reference Haute Couture?
Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Photographs: Getty
It's never too early to start planning your Matric ball gown. Think of yourself as a celebrity going to a big awards show: a cacophony of photography and varying degrees of scrutiny are inescapable. Better pick a good dress.
Here's the thing about going on Pinterest and finding your favourite celebrity's best Oscars gown: there's not much originality happening there. Wouldn't you rather find a design that inspires you, that has a clean slate in pop culture, to make your own? There's an endless well of inspo to be found in the Haute Couture collections. The Spring 2019 season alone has plenty of viable options (see below) but every Couture creation has a degree of timelessness that would allow it to be snatched out of the archive and resurrected at a whim. For evidence, see Cardi B's archive Mugler looks at the 2019 Grammys.
Haute Couture, although always exquisitely crafted, has varying degrees of formality and conceptualism. You might find a look you'd never wear but that sparks the kind of emotion that inspires you to find something you would. It's a wonderful wilderness of design to explore. Start here.
Viktor & Rolf
The Matric ball is one of the few occasions where you are universally encouraged to be your most extra self. Most people take this to heart when it comes to their mode of transport - hello helicopter! Thing is, that only lasts a few minutes. A great big gown - the unforgettable kind that reflects all things excess in modern society - lasts all night and will remain as part of you and your peers' memories for a lifetime. Of course, Viktor & Rolf's mega gown will require a limo at the very least. If the idea of making this look a reality seems stressful, wear something else with the same attitude this apparition of a gown deserves.
Talk about ethereal beauty. Here's a design for the girl who was hoping the party would take place near a willow tree under the stars. A gown for a girl who's not into gowns. Balmain's flouncy sheath is all about creating movement even when you're still. That said, moving onto the dance floor will breathe new life into your look.
Under designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino is currently the most hyped and celebrated Haute Couture house in Paris (slash the world). His designs strike a balance between vintage glamour and modern opulence, celebrating female beauty in an ecstatic, respectful, and inclusive way. This dress from the Spring 2019 collection serves a slick sort of drama that transcends time. It's got an opulent casual cool factor that will still read as fabulous when it's the year 2079 and you're looking back on these pictures on your iPhone XXXI.
Modest dressers need look no further than Clare Waight Keller's Givenchy T-shirt gown. The attention-grabbing red hue allows its carefully considered plays on proportion and textures to shine. The tension between the casually modern top and traditionally ornamental skirt is what makes this look so alluring. It seems to signify the rite of passage celebrated at Matric balls.
Here's a dress for the girl who knows she's the star of the dance floor. Let limbs fly free without sacrificing that all-important sense of occasion that comes with this event.
If you're looking to keep it simple, think Chanel. Yes, you can take a little black dress to the Matric ball. Sometimes the safe option is the best, and the way to really make a look like this shine is to put your personal stamp on it with accessories and the way you do your hair and makeup. It could go anywhere from vintage classic to punk rock.