These days, the latest trend is a constantly moving target, and you never know when the next big thing will strike. Then again, the same could be said for a chance meeting with an impossibly dapper gent in a (albeit borrowed) Lotus Esprit who just so happens to pull over and ask you for directions. We’re talking about the Pretty Woman effect: The cult classic film has remained a touchstone for fashion inspiration on the runways, but perhaps the most unforgettable turn is the recent focus on the clingy cutout dress, as worn by call girl Vivian Ward (that’d be Julia Roberts) in the opening scenes. Considering that it caught the attention of a 1990s Richard Gere, who could resist a modern-day iteration from the likes of Mugler’s Resort 2017 lineup? Just the latest in a long line of reasons why the wardrobe is nothing short of traffic-stopping.
The trick to moving the look away from its humble Hollywood Boulevard beginnings and into more sophisticated territory is to balance the geometric cutout detailing with an unexpected cover-up element, such as an extended hem, fit-and-flare silhouette, or high neckline. Proenza Schouler’s monochromatic mock neck version can fly in the most high-brow of hotel lobbies, turning heads as Roberts’s character did at the Regent Beverly Wilshire—only for the right reasons, this time. Emilio Pucci’s embellished take will score just as many sartorial points at an afternoon polo match as it will an all-day shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. Here, a look at these and other ways to take the look for a spin of your own, because, to paraphrase Vivian Ward: To deny the new season’s impending mood is to be guilty of a big mistake. (Big. Huge.)