Reviews: Naya Maxi Dress, Apsara Maxi Dress, Sunbathed Maxi Dress, Annabel Dress, Eva Franco Dress, Daisy Lace Sheath aka Carissima Sheath, Gilded Dot Shift

A dress as a work of art. The Daisy Lace Sheath ($258) gets reviewed.

Sometimes a dress is more pretty to look at than it is to wear. In this reviews set, maxis and pretty frocks galore.

Naya Maxi Dress ($248) by Geisha Designs, TTS
Style #: 27919315; green motif (038)
★★★☆☆

You know how sometimes you really want to like something and it just doesn’t work out? That’s what happened to me with the Naya Maxi Dress ($248).The overall design features long, tall, thin trees whose top branches spread over the bodice magnificently. I don’t think photos do this dress justice — it really must be seen to be appreciated. The rayon material is a somewhat unfortunate choice given the price. For the talls like me out there this maxi is nice and long, grazing the ground on a day I was wearing flats. I’m 5’8″ for reference.

In the fitting room the story took a sad turn. While beautiful, the dress doesn’t seem very flattering on a larger chest. I am in the medium for these shots, my usual size. The skirt, shoulders and hips were all perfect and I love how the skirt falls straight from the hips. But those lovely branches I love on the bodice ended up making me look and feel very wide. In my opinion this dress is designed for someone with a smaller bust.

Lovely as this dress is, it’s hard to justify $250 for rayon. Between that and the fit issues it’s a pass for me. Well worth the investment on sale I’d say.

Apsara Maxi Dress ($298) by Hemant & Nandita, TTS
Style #: 28219087; blue motif (049)
★★★☆☆

Beautiful prints are placed on a sea of sapphire blue that is the Apsara Maxi Dress ($298). Rendered in beautiful silk with a cotton lining, this dress looks light as a breeze but it curiously heavy on. There is a long beaded and tasseled string belt at the waist which I was able to easily double-wrap around me. The dress isn’t all that long for a maxi. Even in flats this dress was hitting above my ankles.

I loved the pattern so of course I had to try this dress on. Besides the aforementioned heaviness, the dress also has extra room right above the waist. When you belt the dress the bodice ends up looking like a sack. The string belt did a great job of defining my waist and the skirt was large but not overly so. I a not in love with the way the top part of the dress looks. It seems misshapen somehow.

Here’s a closeup of the gorgeous material:

And the cute belt, which has green tassels and brass beads. You’ll notice the sapphire base is tonal, with dots of lighter and darker blue.

Another gorgeous dress that looks better on the hanger than a body. A reluctant pass for me.

Sunbathed Maxi Dress ($168) by The Addison Story, TTS
Style #: 28191476; peach (067)
★★★☆☆

I love the pops of color on the Sunbathed Maxi Dress ($168), especially the pinky peach that runs down the center. This dress was chilling on one of the window dress forms at the Soho Anthropologie (NYC) and looked great! They had it styled with the Ankaa Necklace ($108) for a cute pairing. So I hunted it down to try it for myself. My first disappointment was the material. The dress is viscose — not necessarily a bad thing, but this particular dress is heathered and very thin. I appreciate lighter weight material but need quality. Unlike you superhumans I sweat in the summer and this heathered viscose does not like body moisture at all. So that gave me pause.

Later on in the fitting room I discovered that while lined the skirt lining is much shorter than the skirt — you can see it cutting across my thighs in the left-hand shot above. That was strike 2. The final nail in the coffin was the waist, which is cinched but that beautiful peach band below draws attention to my normally tiny waist sitting in this sack-like shape. Boo! I don’t mind the front tulip in the skirt and I like the athletic racerback top of this dress. The back of the skirt is much longer and hit right above my heel. With a belt the waist would be helped some. I found my usual size medium to fit best.

A cute dress? Certainly. Worth $168? I don’t think so. This dress reads as something I’d expect to find for $70 at the Gap or its ilk. I left it behind because the material and fit didn’t impress me. Later I saw a woman walking down the street in this dress, which confirmed that although cute to look at it’s not amazing on. I don’t in any way mean that as a slight against the woman — just commentary on the dress.

Annabel Dress ($98) by Girls From Savoy, size down
Style #: 26872358; red (060), navy (041) or black (001)
★★★☆☆

Anthropologie’s SAs seem to love the Annabel Dress ($98). In the last few weeks no fewer than 5 employees asked me if I’d tried and loved this dress. I didn’t really see the big deal — just a knit dress, right? It flatters everyone! They promised. Well, nearly everyone.

This viscose/spandex dress is opaque. I’m wondering if the website is correct because this looked and felt more like rayon than viscose. Either way, it’s very soft to the touch and features pleats galore. A thick neckline band is suspended above bodice pleats. After a quick break for a thick waistband more pleats cascade in the hi-low skirt.

I found this dress to run large. I’m in a small for the shots above. Horrible fitting room lighting aside (potlights cast awful shadows) my main issue with this dress is how the bodice pleats emphasize the bust. Perhaps the navy or black version would quash this effect but in the red I felt uncomfortably defined and exposed.

I see the potential in this dress. I go tango dancing every so often and this would be the perfect frock for a night on the dance floor. But I’d need to wear a cami underneath to get the shape right and that’s annoying. So while this dress is getting a lot of love I’m not over the moon for it. Back to the rack.

Unknown Dress ($298) by Eva Franco, TTS
SKU #2895412 for size 8
★★★☆☆

If your daughter is getting married I think this Eva Franco dress would be the perfect MOB dress. It hasn’t hit the website yet but I found it at the Upper East Side Anthropologie. Initially I loved the web of floral mesh on top of a silvery underlayer. It’s made from all synthetic fabric with a back zip. The waist is defined by a horizontal seam.

It looked like this dress might run small so I grabbed an 8 to try. I should have stuck to my usual 6; the 8 was roomy on me. Once on the shape of this dress was so demure that it lost a lot of appeal for me. I like that it is knee-length. I think the neckline’s too high. This could be a work dress I think but it might read as too dressy for most office environments. It’s more work party or event than officewear to me.

Here’s a closer look at the material:

It’s somewhat iridescent. Fun? Sure! If I had the right event I’d be all over this dress. Alas I do not have any parties that this would be right for so this dress was a pass.

On a sidenote, Eva Franco is on Rue La La today and there’s a fit-and-flare version of this dress included in the sale. Not a member? Here’s the EA invite link.

Daisy Lace Sheath aka Carissima Sheath ($258) from Beguile by Byron Lars, TTS
Style #: 28539484; ivory (011)
★★★☆☆

The Daisy Lace Sheath ($258) is the kind of dress you want to find an event for, it’s so lovely. I was delighted when a full size run showed up at the Soho Anthropologie and I’ve seen it at Chelsea Market too. This all-poly dress is almost fully lined (no lining in the shoulders). Different variations of lace and a couple of ivory panels on the skirt are set from a long line of hook-and-eye closures down the front. Are the h&e’s supposed to sit outside or inside the placket? From the model shot it looks like outside but on the dress I tried they mostly wanted to sit in. And man I applaud whoever’s job it was to keep all those hooks closed into their eyes for the model shots — the dress I had on was constantly coming undone with one hook loose here, then another loose there when I bent down to fix the first one. It was annoying beyond belief.

I want to like this dress more than I do. But I didn’t like it very much once it was on. I think the skirt portion looks fantatic, hugging all of my curves in an appealing way. I am less enamored with the top, where the eyelet panel over the bust looks odd to me. And the large round lace medallions at the waist are overkill to me. This dress didn’t itch me but some may be bothered by the lace on mesh at the neckline and on the sleeves. The sleeves were fairly loose on me. I am in my usual size 6 for these fitting room shots.

Here’s what the dress looks like up close:

The waist sash is undone for those shots, and you can see the nude lining around the waist. Perhaps my discomfort with this dress comes from not wearing many form-fitting items. In general I prefer a looser fit. While I like the way this dress makes my lower body look I’m not into the top half. So it is a pass.

Update 8/1/2013: Anthropologie has renamed this dress the Carissima Sheath for Fall 2013. They’ve also released it in black. I had several requests for photos of this new black version so here we go…

Although I think the black version reads much more elegantly than the white version does, I still don’t love it. This dress is no doubt beautifully crafted with a lot of detail work. But the way the lace sits across the bust does not flatter me, and it looks a little strange to me. I am sure that many ladies in this community will be able to rock this frock like no other. For me however it’s still a pass.

Gilded Dot Shift ($258) by Erin Fetherston, size down
SKU #28151736 for size 6
★★☆☆☆

It’s never a good thing when my first thought upon spying a dress is “that looks like it belongs at Forever 21” unless of course I’m in a Forever 21. While no disrespect is meant towards the design I’m not sure how this dress says either “Anthropologie” or “Two Hundred Fifty Eight Dollars.” Basically shiny circles on top of a dark beige underlayer, I think this dress is meant to be a longer mod shift.

My first mistake seems to be sizing. My last experience with Erin Fetherston left me squeezing into a dress so I hesitantly took my usual size 6 back to the fitting room. This time around I was swimming in my usual size. I’d go down at least once to a 4.

And then there is the shape or lack thereof. There are no fit details to be seen so once again this is the kind of dress that falls from whichever part of you sticks out the most, aka the bust. (Possibly the butt.) A friend who saw these photos while I was writing this post said “shiny hospital gown.” Well that pretty much sums it up.

I’m sure this dress will look great once it’s up on the Anthro site. In real however it is a conclusive pass.

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