Polka dots, like leopard prints, are always in fashion’s favor but they seem to have a periodic resurgence every now and again. This is one of those times. They are intermittently showing up in all sizes and colors, and in a myriad of appealing ways throughout the resort 2020 collections. I even ‘spotted’ them at the menswear shows and would hardly be surprised if they show up at the upcoming haute couture collections in Paris.
Part of the appeal of polka dots is their adaptability and versatility. Polka dots can be classic, ladylike, funky, or edgy. They can be innocent or sultry, masculine or feminine, tailored or flou. They can work for day or for evening.
One designer who seems to be going dotty is Michael Kors. Polka dots are a recurring theme in Michael’s resort 2020 collection which is a mix of masculine and feminine and includes touches of punk. Among the appealing iterations is this belted vinyl trench coat with a subtle ruffle trim. It was shown with a matching structured top handle bag.
A knee length belted dress with ¾ sleeves is accented with a handbag that effectively makes use of a polka dot in a slightly larger scale.
A belted top and matching cropped pant with a 40’s vibe, is also shown with a bag and pumps featuring a larger dot.
The same bag and shoes accessorize a polka dot one piece swimsuit with a cut out midriff.
Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing was inspired by a road trip through the Arizona desert for his resort 2020 collection. It is sparkled with the usual dose of glitz and glamour but at the same time, is craft intensive, elaborate, and colorful. Of course, black and white is an ongoing Rousteing signature as illustrated by a number of designs in black and white chiffon polka dots.
The Balmain spring 2020 menswear show in Paris was a bonafide happening, infused with a rock star vibe. Rousteing gives his polka dots plenty of attitude, as exemplified by this blazer and shirt worn with black satin pants and cumberbund.
Tibi’s founder, Amy Smilovic, creates clothes that are minimal, functional, feminine, and wearable. Resort 2020 has a relaxed, easy feeling that is in keeping with the label. Amy focuses on a palette of black, taupe, sage, lilac, and electric yellow. There is nary a print, other than one grouping in plaid, and another, in over-sized polka dots.
The polka dot knitwear looks great and so does the silk blouse with extra- long scarf.
Carolina Herrera’s creative director Wes Gordon said he is on a mission to design clothes that are joyful and not so serious. He once described polka dots as being a “neutral” at Carolina Herrera and they appear for resort 2020. Among his dotty creations are a self-belted V-neck mid-calf dress with balloon sleeves and a chic buttoned up maxi shirt dress.
Contrasting black and white dots add interest to a slip dress featuring a dramatic, multi- tiered floor length skirt.
The one thing Wes obviously had not anticipated when he conceived the resort collection, was that the Mexican government would accuse him of cultural appropriation for using elements and embroidery indigenous to Mexico. Gordon responded by saying it was meant as “a tribute to and celebration of Mexico” and a way to “recognize the diverse craft and textile work of Mexican artisans”.
It’s a hot button topic to be sure but unquestionably, there’s no way polka dots could possibly be seen as cultural appropriation or offensive to anyone.