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What Is A Hybrid Dress? | Vivienne Westwood vs Lanvin Frankenstein

Updated on October 4, 2010
The original hybrid dress, from Vivienne Westwood.
The original hybrid dress, from Vivienne Westwood.

What Is A Hybrid Dress?

Hybrid Dresses are hot right now. I know this, because Fashion Magazine said they were and Vivienne Westwood has made at least one of them. There is something of a question as to the precise nature of hybrid dresses however - for they are most certainly not dresses that run on batteries as well as petroleum, but what they actually are is a matter up for severe debate. Even Google refrains from commenting on the issue, if one searches 'define: hybrid dress', no results are returned at all. It does however, know precisely what harem pants are.

The term 'hybrid' of course, refers to a blending of two styles, and the term 'hybrid dress' at one point appears to have belonged almost exclusively to Vivienne Westwood, who should have gone ahead and patented the term before everyone else started mashing concepts together in dress form and calling them 'hybrid dresses'.

Once upon a time, the hybrid dress was a dress that fell to mid knee level, featured some faffing about around the short sleeves and neckline and otherwise fitted rather like a pencil dress, close to the belly and thighs. That meant that hybrid dresses were not for the faint of heart or the bumpy of figure, though some good supportive shaping underwear would probably have helped a great deal.

Vivienne Westwood's hybrid dresses feature plenty of ruching around the waistline and sides and of course, around the arms. (When I said 'faffing around the short sleeves', I really meant 'judicious use of ruching'.) They also feature rather fetching cowl necks, which to my eyes look a little bit like the wearer is sort of wearing a dress with a hood backwards. It may or may not be possible to pull the cowl neckline up over your head and turn yourself into a human / dress hybrid, but I'm going to imagine that it is possible, because it makes me happy to do so.

That was the hybrid dress then. The hybrid dress now is an unnatural travesty against man and God.

Lanvin Hybrid Dress

The new hybrid dress from Lanvin. Oh. Dear. God.
The new hybrid dress from Lanvin. Oh. Dear. God.

The term 'hybrid dress' will never be the same however, not after Lanvin's Spring 2011 collection wandered casually out on stage wearing halves of two dresses sewn together in a form of fabric Frankenstein, that frankly, offends my face quite a bit. I could go into a long descriptive paragraph here and talk about the military green on the right hand side of the dress (which is stylish, understated, and entirely on trend) and I could then mention the billowing metallic monstrosity on the left hand side of the garment which rather makes it look as if the model is worried about burning up on re-entering the runway, but I won't, because you have eyes, and there are no words to describe what is going on in this picture.

Apart from this: Fashion Magazine, if you keep calling things like this 'hot', we will begin to lose faith in you.


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