March 19 2010
Lucia van der Post
I’m never quite sure how versatile I like my clothing to be (one divine dress by Italian designer Daniela Gregis has so many permutations that she had to draw a personal instruction leaflet for me – a work of art in itself), but in these days of fearsome airline restrictions I can see that a dress that can be worn a multitude of different ways could earn its keep pretty fast.
So welcome to Twobirds, the brainchild of a recent American bride, Ariane Goldman, who has come up with a dress that can be demure and ladylike one minute, coolly elegant and strapless come the evening, or slightly daring for balmy summer nights. The neckline can be V- or high-necked and it can be worn with or without sleeves.
Made from a fine nylon/jersey/spandex mix and coming in a multitude of colours (18 in all), it was originally inspired by Norma Kamali’s 1970s infinity dress. The key to it seems to lie in the bodice straps, which can be tied, twisted or knotted to create a series of different necklines. Take my advice and get a lesson in the shop. The idea came to Goldman because she was often a bridesmaid before she got married herself and she found that she was spending too much money on a dress that she never wore again – so Twobirds was born.
This is not what you might call a “result” dress. Nobody is going to be knocked out by its beauty, but it is one that could be endlessly useful. It can be dressed up and down – take it on a sun-and-sea holiday and you’d have a day dress and a variety of evening ones that could be accompanied by different shawls and bold costume jewellery.
It comes in two sizes (up to a US size 16, and size 18 and up) and four lengths, and costs from £200. Helpfully, it also has matching wraps (though it’s more fun to go for contrast) and bandeaus that can be used as extra bust support. It’s been a wow in the US and Australia but has only just arrived in the UK, at Twobirds’ cute little shop in Notting Hill.