Traditional ball dresses and elegant mid-century shapes might seem twee in an age of sexed-up pop stars and the Kardashians. However, it's one worth considering for the belle of the ball who wants to look age appropriate and comfortable. While some girls look to ball night as an opportunity to dress beyond their years, it's also worth remembering that its a night to enjoy being young and free. Bright block colours provide a sense of occasion as designers highlight vivid hues in floor-skimming gowns for whatever the theme the ball committee has drummed up.
Traditional 50s shapes still resonate today in both ready-to-wear and formal collections. One young retailer in particular is making a statement with her authentic collection of vintage prom dresses. Daisy's Vintage Dresses is a passion project for 20-year-old Daisy Heald-Stewart, whose love of vintage has grown into a carefully edited mix of one-off accessories and dresses that she sells from her Auckland showroom, including this pale pink 1950s tulle number from the United States (above). Depending on the theme of the night, it's an opportunity to embrace a polished 50s look from top to toe or even to keep hair and makeup fuss-free and teamed with discreet jewellery for a modern interpretation.
Another detail that nods to the past is the corsage. From classic debutante balls to cotillion balls, the corsage has always represented youth and beauty. This year they make a return in place of jewellery and for florist Antonia De Vere, from Mark Antonia, it's about hitting that mark between traditional and playful on the night as displayed here with her custom-made corsages. "With a corsage, a girl will be unique and special," she explains. "They may be worn on the wrist, woven into a hairstyle or attached to a handbag for an interesting alternative."
Traditional ball looks that we love
• Crane Brothers
• Daisy's Vintage Dresses (09) 303 3545
• Karen Walker
• Liz Mitchell (09) 360 5407
• Mark Antonia
• Mi Piaci
• Modes (09) 520 2730
• Muse (09) 520 2911
• The Men's Department (09) 489 9202
• Topshop at The Department Store (09) 489 9202
• Walker & Hall
Stylist: Dan Ahwa
Photographer: Chris Gorman
Hair and makeup/grooming: Stacy Lee Ghin using Koa Cosmetica
Models: Evelina Milward and Callum Smith from Clyne
Stylist's assistant: Zuzana Edwards