It’s pink, it’s full of tulle and ruffles, falls just below the knee: I guess designer Lirika Matoshi’s strawberry dress does have all the trimmings of a fairy princess fashion moment. But I still don’t get the hype.
Matoshi first debuted the midi dress in July 2019, and it was immediately strewn across social media in a feeding frenzy of wishlists and vision boards. Fanfare sparked again when model Tess Holliday (who likened herself in it to what Strawberry Shortcake and Lana Del Rey’s baby would look like) wore it to the Grammys back in January, sending her Instagram post of the red carpet moment into six digits of likes, and now it seems to be back, the public longing stronger than ever.
According to NBC News, Matoshi and her general manager, Ledri Mahmuti, said that sales of the dress (again, a dress that’s been available for a year), increased by 1,073 percent “compared to the same date period last month.” And you all say Instagram trends are bogus. Ha!
Now with a matching face mask that wasn’t quite necessary at the beginning of the year, the strawberry dress has become something of a precious jewel, with fashionistas using money left over from canceled vacations and funds saved up for months to buy this dress. What is it about the frock? It’s cute, I suppose, but would I actually ever wear this out somewhere?
But as it stands, the strawberry dress is still the most coveted ensemble of 2020, even amid a pandemic that has rendered us all housebound for the foreseeable future. Even if I could come up with somewhere to wear this dress, it definitely wouldn’t be my own home.
Sarah Spellings at Vogue thinks we have the rise of “cottagecore” to thank for that. The theme has blown up in the past few months, a word to describe a very rural, nostalgic, DIY-er-with-no-makeup-collecting-daisies-from-her-farmhouse-field aesthetic. The vibe has been easily helped along by the pandemic, as people have gotten back into defunct hobbies (puzzles, embroidery, bread-baking) and are wistful for wipe open spaces and a back-to-basics lifestyle. All of which you can most definitely achieve while wearing the strawberry dress.
Just picture it: You’re painting a landscape of the setting sun up in the Catskills, listening to Taylor Swift’s “folklore” on repeat, and you’re dressed in head to toe pink, shimmery strawberries.
Fans of the dress have equated it to something Disney princesses would wear, and posts on Twitter and Instagram feature it photoshopped onto celebs (Dakota Johnson, Sebastian Stan, etc.) or incorporated into anime illustrations. It has fan art. There’s even a code that allows you to dress your character on “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” in the dress. The strawberry dress has superseded traditional style popularity and has entered meme territory. Which I do. not. get.
Spellings also made the point that the dress is likely popular because no one has anywhere to go in it. We’re desperate as hell to feel just a little bit of the normalcy we had pre-COVID-19, and treating ourselves to a fanciful dress gets us at least halfway there.
I guess. Like anything else, the strawberry dress obsession came out of thin air, but it’s here to stay.
“A lot of people have been at home wearing sweatpants for a long time, so the dress feels extra special. It's almost like an escape from the current situation,” Matoshi said. “That's what some of our customers are saying about this dress.”
“I was so excited to see it go viral, and the support from my fans has been amazing. The dress itself reflects my overall message as a designer, to bring a bit of whimsy and happiness into the lives of others,” Matoshi said.