The Best Evening Dresses for Resort 2025 Were All About Transitional Glamour

In a less than favorable market for single-use occasion dresses, New York’s evening-specific designers channeled their efforts for resort into creating lightweight and transitional styles with novel details.

There was a breadth of fresh trends to keep an eye on as well: from power shoulders to pockets and pastels, a perfect look was to be had by every client for each occasion.

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With that in mind, WWD selected just one — the best — from each collection and asked the designers to weigh in.

Pamella Roland Resort 2025 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Pamella Roland resort 2025

Pamella Roland

Inspiration: 19th-century romantic movement

Best dress: A blush drop-shoulder gown in crinkled taffeta with a ruching bodice and asymmetric bell-shaped skirt.

Unique design feature: Pockets. According to Roland, a phone and lipstick are all you need.

Perfect for: Garden weddings and formal polo matches.

From the designer: “One of our guiding principles is to create beautiful dresses that are also comfortable to wear, and this gown slips on with remarkable ease. It was the first look completed, and really served as the catalyst for the entire collection. We had a custom rose-colored floral print made, encapsulating the romantic essence we envisioned this season. For me, pastels represent the beginning of spring.”

Naeem Khan Resort 2025 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Naeem Khan resort 2025

Naeem Khan

Inspiration: All-American holiday glamour

Best dress: A power-shoulder stretch-sequin mini with rosette embroideries.

Unique design feature: Alternating black and white sequins, which mimics the texture of tweed.

Perfect for: Intimate Christmas Eve dinners or blowout bashes on New Year’s.

According to the designer: “We’ve been seeing that the client wants more clean-cut dresses for entertaining at home, so it’s all based on a holiday at home in your city. Simple as that.

“If you look at the sequins we’ve used here, it gives the idea of flogging. It’s evening, but underdressed a bit for my clients who don’t want too much glamour. It’s not as shiny and has this tweedy kind of feel to it. And I love, love the wide shoulders. It lifts you up and creates structure.”

Reem Acra Resort 2025 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Reem Acra resort 2025

Reem Acra

Inspiration: Acra’s Lebanese heritage.

Best dress: Not a dress at all. A single-shoulder sari-wrap top and matching drop-waist skirt in limoncello-colored chiffon.

Unique design feature: The Moorish-style beading along the waist was taken from a sleeve of an archival dress.

Perfect for: Yacht parties off the Mediterranean coast.

From the designer: “It’s kind of a younger Reem Acra. I’m known for those long chiffon long dresses, but here I divided it into two pieces for a fresh look. I needed fresh colors as well, bright yellow, for that young attitude. I wanted it to be seen. We’re all on Instagram today and it really pops.”

Badgley Mischka Resort 2025 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Badgley Mischka resort 2025

Badgley Mischka

Inspiration: Old-Hollywood by way of Santa Barbara

Best dress: Again, not a dress. A satin shirtwaist jumpsuit with rainbow georgette palazzo legs.

Unique design feature: The madras plaid print was created with two layers of striped chiffon cut on opposite grains.

Perfect for: Beach picnics at sunset or festive wine tastings.

From the designer: “We looked into the history of Santa Barbara and were inspired by the fact that it was the original film capital of California. The women that live there, the way they put themselves together, it’s an understated glamour — very soft, sometimes with a bit of tailoring.

“We used a 1940s Carole Lombard getting away from Los Angeles as inspiration for this. It just fits like a dream. It floats into a room. It’s gorgeous for jewelry. She could wear sandals with it or she could wear important shoes. It can be whatever you want it to be.”

Bibhu Mohapatra Resort 2025 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Bibhu Mohapatra resort 2025

Bibhu Mohapatra

Inspiration: Francois Hardy’s beatnik style meets the erotic romanticism of Georgia O’Keeffe.

Best Dress: A scarf-neck dance dress in nude-illusion organza with a handkerchief hem and scalloped lace overlay.

Unique design feature: The lace was engineered to look as though it had been studded with grommets like a biker jacket.

Perfect for: Mohapatra called this “the ultimate date dress.”

From the designer: “I wanted resort to be a bridge between what we did last fall, which was very restrained with a little bit of hardness. This is in between, adding that sort of soft, natural element.

“It’s that bohemian look from the late ’60s, but we paneled the skirt to create these graphic lines and make it more modern. And we’ll have different types of slips to go underneath it: she could have a V-neck or halter-neck lining, a short lining or it can have a regular full-length slip as well.”

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