When it’s an Annah Stretton Chameleon dress, that’s when.
Before I explain the how-tos and where fors, I’ll rewind a couple of weeks. I’d been invited to come into the Annah Stretton boutique in Paddington, Brisbane. So off I went, walking into a gorgeous renovated workers’ cottage on Given Terrace that felt as far removed from chain store shopping as you could possibly get.
Let me paint you a visual picture …
Annah is a New Zealand fashion designer of international note with stores throughout New Zealand – and just two in Australia: Noosa and Paddington, Brisbane. She creates two designer collections (Annah Stretton and Annah.S) each season and is the publisher of Her Magazine.
Her designs have a clear nod to vintage style and a definite focus on fabrication and detail. She’s also passionate about making every woman feel amazing in what they wear.
Which brings me back to the Chameleon dress and what has me in store in the first place.
In its simplest description, the Chameleon dress is a wrap dress. But I’m not really doing it justice by calling it just that.
It can actually be worn 10 different ways and is fully reversible. And you don’t need a degree in origami to work it out how to twist, tie and tuck it into its possible shapes. In fact it’s practically impossible to stuff up how you tie your dress … it will just work (plus there are some great how to wear tips and videos on the Annah Stretton website).
I got to play and learn under the tutelage of sales manager Belinda Sherriff. Belinda knows her way around a Chameleon dress so well, she’s even come up with an 11th way to wrap it. Genius. We played around with a mint green Chameleon to start. Something I would not usually have picked off the rack.
You can also wrap it back to front (the Audrey), wear it strapless, create a sweetheart neckline, a cowl neckline or even wear it as a skirt. The brilliant thing is because of the way the different fabrics are layered and blocked together, the look of the dress is completely different each time.
Now, I was warming to the 1940s vibe of this green dress … but then Belinda bought out the Diana. A lbd Chameleon – one of only 90 ever made. You could say we fell instantly in love … in a Mad Men kind of way.
The nitty gritty: the Chameleon is fully machine washable and doesn’t need ironing. Sizing is mostly determined by your bust measurement: extra small (size 6-10); small (size 10-14) – what I’m wearing; medium (size 12-16); large (size 16-20). Now, hold your breath, we’re not talking budget fashion here (although on a cost per wear and wardrobe investment basis, it’s good economies of scale) … the Chameleons are priced from $390. The Diana I’m wearing is $450.
Have you ever tried on a dress that felt just right? One that you knew would be in your wardrobe for life?
* The Diana Chameleon dress was gifted to me in accordance with my disclosure policy