Emma Watson likely wasn’t expecting to be at the center of the latest viral dress discourse when she posted an Instagram photo of herself wearing a sky-blue Loewe number on Monday, but many Internet commenters seemed nearly as confused by the gravity-defying silhouette as they were by the infamous white-and-gold (or black-and-blue) dress eight years ago.
In the image, the asymmetrical mini-dress appears to be floating on Watson’s body, with its neckline — both sharply-pointed and loosely-draped — in particular hovering without any visible means of support.
(Watson is otherwise posing alongside her brother Alex, who is clutching a bottle of Renais gin, a liquor brand recently launched by their family.)
The optical illusion led some “Harry Potter” fans to ask Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the blockbuster movies, whether the garment was the result of some Hogwarts wizardry — rather than just fashion wizardry. “That dress said wingardium leviosa,” the most-liked reply on Watson’s post read, referring to a levitation spell used in the books and films. Other, less kind comments compared the piece to a broken umbrella, or to what happens “when you try to fold a fitted sheet.”
But the magic of the dress is in its sly construction. Loewe, the Spanish label currently led by fashion designer Jonathan Anderson, has experimented with illusion dresses to great success in recent seasons, from radical silhouettes that shift with the eye to trompe-l’œil imagery that can prompt double-takes. Watson’s mini dress comes from its Spring-Summer 2023 collection, which toyed with structure and form, and included multiple gowns with similar necklines.
Since then, the collection’s dramatic pieces have been spotted on Zendaya, Emily Ratajkowski and Dakota Fanning — who each wore looks featuring suggestive anthurium blooms — while Gal Gadot opted for a more subtle black pannier midi dress for a recent Tiffany & Co. event in New York.
Beyoncé kicked off her “Renaissance” tour with a custom Loewe bodysuit featuring a motif of black gloves and red nails mimicking the superstar’s own arms, while Karlie Kloss announced her pregnancy at the Met Gala red carpet in a body-hugging pearl illusion dress from the label and, just last week, Jennifer Lawrence walked the red carpet in Madrid for her new film, “No Hard Feelings,” in a nude Loewe gown with a floating sweetheart neckline.
Loewe isn’t the only label to fool the eye with surrealist dress shapes this season — presenting their latest Haute Couture collection in January, Viktor & Rolf challenged the laws of physics with sideways and upside-down ballgowns built on and around the models wearing them. At Cannes, model Elsa Hosk walked the red carpet in one of the more subtle (and spatially simpler) looks, which featured a second bodice seemingly misaligned with her body.