Fashion icon Jane Birkin knows a thing or two about style. Besides being the namesake of the famed Birkin bag, the English actress, singer and model also introduced the wonders of messy bangs, basket bags and vintage jeans to women around the world.

Designers are constantly turning to her carefree, bohemian style that she established in the ’60s and ’70s for their own creations, and the proof is in the wave of crochet knit dresses that are now trending.

Of course, those beach-ready dresses been a summer staple for a while now, but they all seem to point back to a particular moment in fashion history: When Birkin wore a white crochet maxi dress to the Gala de l’Union des Artistes in 1969. With its open-knit construction and plunging neckline, the dress was a quintessential Birkin look, all effortless and sensual.

Jane Birkin wearing the now-iconic crochet maxi dress to attend a gala with Serge Gainsbourg. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Jane Birkin wearing the now-iconic crochet maxi dress to attend a gala with Serge Gainsbourg. (Image: Getty Images)

There are other things that make crochet dresses so irresistible, like the fact that they pair so well with basket bags and sandals, or that they’re lightweight and breezy — easy to take off before answering the beckoning call of the waves. And that’s all true for the styles that you can shop now from the likes of Loewe and Jil Sander, which are among our picks of must-have summer dresses below. Whether you’re into sweeping skirts or shorter hemlines, make like Jane and harness the power of a simple, slinky knit dress on your next beach day.

1

Even without it being named “Jane”, it’s abundantly clear that this dress is an homage to Birkin’s iconic crochet dress. It has the same navel-grazing neckline and a similar floral knit pattern, although it’s also updated with bell sleeves and a flared hem. The best part is that it comes in three colours, making it a truly flattering style for all skin tones.

Image: Courtesy The Outnet

Price
US$270 (Rs 19,806 approx.)
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2

Keep things simple with this Alanui mini dress. It sets itself apart with a square neckline and tie strap details along the shoulder. It’s the perfect dress to wear if you’re layering on those beaded necklaces and accessories.

Image: Courtesy Farfetch

Price
US$490 (Rs 36,451 approx.)
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3

Your hot girl summer will not be complete without this sweeping, slinky Cult Gaia crochet knit dress. Like Birkin’s one, it boasts a plunging neckline and its open knit design lets you soak up the sun with just a flirty flash of your bikini underneath. You’ll also dig the dramatic cutouts that show off your waist and back.

Image: Courtesy Net-a-Porter

Price
US$722.40 (Rs 52,992 approx.)
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4

It’s all in the details with this Dion Lee summer dress, whose intricate knit balances the simplicity of its silhouette. We love that it’s designed with ties to accentuate your waist, as well as slits to reveal your perfectly tanned legs. And with the dress available in this beige hue, you’ll find it easy to pull off when you’re headed to the beach.

Image: Courtesy Farfetch

Price
US$1,003 (Rs 74,613 approx.)
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5

For a dose of colour befitting our tropical clime, this Marco Rambaldi dress does the trick. Its crochet florals feature playful cut-outs that keeps the cotton-linen dress airy and light. Style it with a pink croissant bag to go full technicolour.

Image: Courtesy Farfetch

Price
US$1,669 (Rs 124,156 approx.)
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6

By now, Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza’s vibrant collections are probably a staple of your summer wardrobe. If not, you can start with this flirty minidress. It has lace-up ties at the back that let you cinch the waist of the dress, while the tropical-inspired open knit pattern allows you to flaunt your bright swimsuit under it. Take cues from Jane Birkin and pair it with one of Loewe’s bestselling basket bags.

Image: Courtesy MyTheresa

Price
€1,095 (Rs 96,786 approx.)
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7

You can wear black to the beach thanks to this Jil Sander frock. On top of the figure-hugging open-knit construction, the dress features a revealing low back and a scoop neckline. It can easily go from day to night with a change of shoes — slides for the beach, strappy sandals for the bar.

Image: Courtesy Farfetch

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore

Hero image: Courtesy Rue des Archives

Price
US$1,179 (Rs 87,705 approx.)
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Shatricia Nair
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.