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Yea or Nay: Tie-Dye

Come on people now, smile on your brother!

Let's get this out of the way first before hoards of nitpickers beat us to it: yes, technically speaking, most of these looks aren't really "tie-dyed," rather, they evoke real tie-dying.

Okay, having said that...

This is one of those things that fade in and out of the spotlight, but you can bet that a couple times a decade, some designers will return to the hippy well once again. Now, we could go down the list and offer our thoughts on each look, but why bother? We like all of them, which is unusual for us, we know.

However, our fabulosity forces to go off-topic for a moment and shriek at the HIDEOUS shoes the poor Tory Burch model is wearing (last pic). Honey, you wear those to take your garbage to the curb; you don't wear them on a runway.

Blumarine, Calvin Klein, Etro

Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Lela Rose, Peter Pilotto

Ports 1961, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte

Salvatore Ferragamo, Tibi, Tory Burch


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I usually say "nay" to tie-dye but I do like the Peter Pilotto dress a lot.

Just like any patterns - some suck, some are nice - depends on colors and patterns used in technique.

I don't like the "traditional" hippie colors/tie-die patterns. But many of the above look very good, polished.

Red Salvatore Ferragamo


"Come on people now, smile on your brother!"

Aw, you guys always know just what to say. And in case any of the young'uns don't know the reference:

Love is but the song we sing
And fear the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why

Come on, people, now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try and love one another right now

Nostalgically yours,

LOVE the Hervé Léger by Max Azria... agreed, those shoes look like some dead animal wrapped around her ankles!

Peter Pilotto, I heart you.

prada did this (well) three seasons ago

Isn't the rule of thumb that if you are old enough to have worn a fad the first time it comes around, you can never wear it again? Otherwise you look like you are stuck in a time warp...


Overall I tend to like well done tie-dye
and I am just okay with most of these..
Other comments:
The Calvin Klein - meh

Lela Rose - Never a fan of yellow and gray together
Peter Pilotto ?? what is with the color combination?

Proenza Schouler - really like
Rodarte? odd and unflattering
Ferragamo - ok they threw a coat over it - but everytime I see a sheer top like this on the runway I am reminded of MK saying hello boobies about Wendy's outfit - whcih I still love far better than most of these others

The first pic and the last pic - both awful shoes

Lovin' the Peter Pilotto look. Overall, I'll give the updated and re-worked use of tie-dye a "yay."

I was never a huge fan (okay, I'd never be caught dead in the traditional tie-dyed look on
t-shirts, hobo bags, etc.) of tie-dye, but I think in these cases and designer looks, it comes off much more refreshed and kind of interesting. I like how most of the looks treat the patterns like abstract designs so they come off looking far more integrated with the outfits. Just please, no tees in rainbow colors!


Holy Flashback! I thought for a moment that I was seeing a 70s-era Cheryl Tiegs in the Blumarine dress!

I enjoy the hippy look. It's very forgiving, and varied enough that you can turn it up or down as needed. Whenever it comes back (every few years) I take advantage as long as I can. I vote yay!

And yes, the Tory Burch shoes suck. Bitch has trouble with leathergoods, her bags suck too.

I like the Peter Pilotto dress, but the rest are icky.

I kind of like them all, too. The Ferragamo is perfection.

agreed the peter pilotto dress is beautiful...i think its the combo of the colors and the texture that pull gave. plus, i don't know if its just the styling but that etro looks fierce!

meep said...

......I don't like the "traditional" hippie colors/tie-die patterns. But many of the above look very good, polished.



ADORE: Peter Pilotto, Salvatore Ferragamo

DETEST: Ports 1961, Lela Rose, Calvin Klein

MEH: Everyone else

I can't give it a universal Yay or Nay because for me it depends on the colors and fabrics used. In general I like it, especially when it isn't overtly hippy-ish. I like the look of the Calvin Klein fabric in the top row. The Peter Pilotto dress is fantastic.

So my vote is a mostly Yay.

I don't mind tie-dye as long as it doesn't look like a summer camp project. Maybe it's a nod to my teenage years in the 70's but I think it's a fun, casual, summer look, and I like all the dresses shown. Some of the shoes paired with the looks are a different story though.

I like them all, but whether in or out of fashion I always like tie dye.

Really loving the Pilotto dress up top, but I like them all. I'm all for modernized tie-dye. If it brings in color and pattern and movement, what's not to love?

I LOVE tie dye: Always have, always will. They're like bell bottoms - to me, neither will ever go out of style (or even if they do, I'll still wear them).


as long as it isn't done in a dated fashion, i approve.

The Ports 1961 and the last dress look like they are at a white-trash beach. The look says to me "I probably have bad teeth, smokers breath, love Guns N Roses and Bad Company, and use the word "ain't"". Harsh, I know, but drive to Hampton Beach NH and you'll see what I mean. Sounds like "profiling", but everyone does it sometimes.

um, i wouldn't wear those shoes to take out my garbage. just saying.

i do love the shoes on the proenza shouler model. & love the herve leger & peter pilotto. dislike the blumarine look.

the rodarte... meh. i can see avril lavigne wearing that. and i don't mean that as a compliment.

Yeah, I would say it all depends on how you use it, and the colors and fabrics used. I've seen some hideous tie-dye IRL, but I think all of these look pretty good.

With the right colors, fabrics and cuts, any pattern can be fabulous.

I don't know that this is purely "tie-die", but perhaps the designers are tapping into batik dying instead? Two different dying methods, after all. And who can forget Ramon's tie-die experiment that Nina loved on maybe there's a trend to it after all...

Is it because "Hair" is a hit on Broadway again?

meh, burnt burlap sack no, very nice

wish I had the body for it, high school craft project meh, neat concept but overall meh

uh ... 7th grade craft project no, college craft project no, just say big effing no

gorgeous, old babe on beach in FL, just plain fug no

Love the Pilotto. Like the Etro. Not for me, but I applaud Tibi for trying with the bright colors.

I like tie-dye when it's done well; interesting patterns and wonderful color gradation.

That photo catches the motion of the Etro coat/top beautifully. Though it's the edging on the piece that draws the eye and makes it stand out.

I mostly like the prints, though not all. The Rodarte is ugly to my eyes, and I think the body paint on the model is actually improving it.

I like them! They're a pretty interpretation of tye-dye, which is not so pretty.

I think what makes these work is that they don't get too deep into the 60's trap.

I especially love the Salvatore Ferragamo-- I want it!

The shoes on the Tori Burch model really don't seem to fit her at all. From the posted photo it looks like you can see the inside of the shoe on both feet. They seem WAY too big. A different color would be better.

Having done the original back when we were so, so groovy (oy), I always cringe when I see tie-dye. Although I must say many of these these interpretations manage to mute it down to tolerable.

Nevertheless, some things just should be left to moulder in their grave, along with the flower power.

(And thanks for giving me an earworm for the rest of the day!)

I agree with Windsornot.

These are interesting examples of batik techniques with some tie dye thrown in for good measure. It's not a fad and it's not a trend. People have been doing it for thousands of years. It's simply a way to put a design on fabric.

Is tie-dye the recession version of ombre?

I can see the Blumarine dress in my hometown of Miami, I wonder if Uli will do something with tie-dye

Love the Pilotto dress, but according to Launch My Line, it will never sell due to the extra fabric on the hips. Bummer.

The Etro made me rethink my decades long hatred of tie-dye. That is one fine restricted use of a pattern technique. (The bandeau not so much.)

There are, however, some of the old tired patterns used in tired ole ways. OTOH, maybe some people will find them new and fresh.

Ah, youth.

Love or like most of the looks. The last look appears to be a 2-piece. Can you imagine the skirt being worn alone? The sort of target pattern is classic tye-dye, but that placement is all "HELLO GIRL PARTS"!

I am a tie-dye lover from way back. I wear tie-dye all the time, always a yay!

I don't mind a good color combo of tie dye with a modern silhouette like the Etro or Proenza Schouler looks. Really hated the Tory Burch, too. That looks like something that was found in Buffalo Exchange from the 90's. Though I applaud the color, the Tibi is pretty hideous as well wtih the pattern leaking down the sides of the body.

The rest are meh. Nothing exciting.

Is the Tibi dress used in the front page picture even tie-dye? It looks as though it was messily watercolored.


I love Lucky Brand and Free People clothes so you know by default that I like tie dye :)


Ok about the Tory Burch shoes...some designers should not be doing shoes. Either they are fugly and or really uncomfortable and expensive. I know because I bought three pairs of Tory Burch sandals last spring and all three have flaws not found in cheaper shoes. The flip flops are too flippy on the the front so they catch now and then and the Miller sandal is just so cruel and a bitch to wear.

you're right about those shoes on the Tony Burch model. did they get them a bin in a thrift store in Salt Lake City?

and the more i stared at those shoes, the more i realized that the model's ears were coming out of the picture to get me.

Yay on some, like the Rodarte and Peter whathisface (the last one on the second row)
But big Nay to some, like the BlueMarine

I like this sort of vaguely-tie-dye-like pattern in general, though some of the specific colour combinations wound my eyes. The rest range from "not bad" to "really nice". It really does depend on colour and how it's used, which in this case is mosty fairly well.

I like most of the except the Rodarte and the Ports 1961. Not necessarily because of the patterns but because of the shape and style of the dresses. Some are the others are a bit meh. But some, like the Etro, Max Azria, and Peter Pilotto are fantastic. I think it just all depends on how the the print is used along with the style of the outfit.

Sorry--but I don't like any of it. I didn't wear tie-dye in 1969 while in high school, and I don't want to look at it now (unless it's in a fiber art piece).

Well, I'm a 40-year-old fat woman, and I'd wear every single piece. The cape in the first line is so gorgeous I want it SO BAD!! And it would make me look just like the model. Yes it would! YES IT WOULD!!

I mean, yeah, I hear Age of Aquarius in the background too, but I don't care. Love it!!!

Blumarine and Tibi's renditions of tie dye are pretty fabulous. The first one is just so sassy, love it!

I've always disliked the Tory Burch style aesthetic. This outfit looks like all the pieces are from Forever 21. Looks cheap.

I like the Etro on the runway, but there is no way you could wear that IRL without looking like you're on your way to a costume party.

Also, good God, how long until Hervé Léger lets the bandage dresses go?

Tie Dye = Epic Win.
I do my own and wear it all the time :]

Oh gosh.

Just.. NO. We all know that this is going to be interpreted horribly for mainstream wear, so it's probably better to just avoid it altogether.

Tie dye still looks as pathetic as it did years ago.
Dress it up, call it Shibori and it is almost tolerable.
Personal preference.
Right on.
Thanks for letting us all rap about it.


As a fiber artist I wouldn't call this tie-dye either but I do like the painted dye patterns.

I'm just shocked to see something other than beige, black and white on the runway!

I hate pretty much all of themn. Well, except for the Etro and Ferragamo, which aren't bad.

The Tory Burch shoes are horrible but even worse are the ones worn by the model in Herve Leger - they make her feet look like hooves.

A big, big meh overall.

On tie-dye: I'm old enough to have done it in the washing machine myself, and I say nay.

But I WANT that Ferragamo coat.

I love to see color for a change!! Love the Schouler, a lot, would wear it, it would be forgiving of a lot of body types. Love the Etro also.

I love to see color for a change!! Love the Schouler, a lot, would wear it, it would be forgiving of a lot of body types. Love the Etro also.

Love it ... Love it Love it!

sniff, I'm old enough to remember hating tie-dye the first time around....

Considering that the tie-dye (resist dyeing) technique is over 5000 years old, I don't see why more designers aren't getting more creative with their fabrics as well as their designs. There are some magnificent textile designers doing batik and shibori which are versions of the same thing.

Look at Carter Smith's clothing line - started doing tiedye wall hangings in the early days and now has developed his own style of shibori textiles and truly flattering clothing design.'s a classic.

(Your opening quote made me think of one of my favorite old Ellen DeGeneres routines. Hee. Cheers, T-Lo!)

Like any print, it really depends on how it's done, what the colors and patterns are, and how it's used. There are times a tie-dye effect can be lovely, or striking, or breathtaking. Most of the time, I can practically smell the patchouli funk rolling off the runway. It's a print/pattern, like any other, and it depends upon the taste level, creativity, and inventiveness of the person creating the fabric/fashion whether or not the result is something that looks like a Goodwill reject or something beautiful, and, occasionally, even timeless. In summation, it depends, which isn't a cop-out, I swear.

i'm not dorothy gale

I wore something very similar to the Etro in the mid-70's, with pants and non-see-through bra in black. I'll give this design a yay and the rest a nay.

I REALLY love that Peter Pilotto dress. Gorgeous!

Anonymous writes: "Isn't the rule of thumb that if you are old enough to have worn a fad the first time it comes around, you can never wear it again?"

Gods, I hope this is true! It's a happy out for me re: skinny jeans, buffalo plaid and the other hideous shit the young (and not so young) kids are wearing these days.
and if I see another pair of leggings - I mean, "footless tights" - worn as though they are acceptable as trousers, I will vomit.

Love and covet that Etro look. Most of these are pretty fab except the Tory Burch. I have much hate for the little black and white number; just never been a fan of positioning a bulls-eye over my crotch no matter much I may want to get laid. Ew.

I like the feeling of most of these.

We need a little cheering up, dontcha think?


The Etro and Peter Pilotto stand out for me.

interesting... i had no idea there was so much tie-dye coming from so many different designers. people have been just falling all over themselves over proenza schouler's tie-dye to the point that you'd think they invented it, if not led the charge in bringing it back this season. either way, i do have to admit that the proenza schouler boys did it best... it's still sleek.

Very cool. I like the abstraction of the pattern. And those Tory Burch shoes are FUGTASTIC.

I do love tie dye and shibori, and enjoy seeing it on the runway, although it needs to be in proportion to the amount of skin showing to balance it out. And throwing on a tie dyed scarf to go tooling around in is brilliant. I'm partial to the scarves on Yummy Velvet! I've seen Carter Smith's clothing and the fabrics albeit gorgeous are just overpriced moo-moos. Trying on his dresses I looked like a circus tent with feet!

Red Salvatore Ferragamo

BALMAIN for women

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