The long, hot days and balmy nights of summer release our uninhibited, dance-under-a-starry-sky spirit. We yearn to rebel against the constriction and practicality of work attire. The summer months awaken a bit of the Bohemian spirit in all of us, and especially for evenings, designers are delivering this liberating nostalgia with grown-up elegance.

The overall feeling is of floating lightness, grounded by a refi ned sophistication that says “empress,” not “princess.” Soft silhouettes of sheer, lightweight fabrics are festooned with beaded floral appliqués in intricate designs.

Emilio Pucci dipped into tie-dye with this enchanting multi-tone, empire-waist dress.

Emilio Pucci dipped into tie-dye with this enchanting multi-tone, empire-waist dress.

For the flurry of weddings and festive summer parties, choose a loose, floor-sweeping, billowy, chiffon silhouette by Chloé, or Alberta Ferretti’s sheer, mint, empire-waist dress with flowers intentionally stitched at the bust—reminiscent of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For an especially ornate take on this look, opt for the bell-sleeved, deep V-neck gown with embroidered beading in bursts of flower bouquets by Marchesa. Joseph Altuzarra has created a breathtaking translucent white dress embellished with cascading layers of shimmering gold grape leaves. Marvelous, captivating prints make an equal statement of confi dent femininity, as seen in Emilo Pucci’s perfectly imperfect bold-colored, tie-dye, fluid halter dress, and also in Etro’s vibrant, all-over kaleido-scope-patterned maxi dress.

Cholé made boho romantic in its sophisticated spring showcase.

Cholé made boho romantic in its sophisticated spring showcase.

Again and again this summer, dresses of delicate, fi ne fabrics offset with lavish beading or bold florals are beautiful, feminine and powerful. And yet, they still allow that free spirit to flourish once again.

Punahou grad and Fashion Institute of Technology alumna Meleana Estes gives us her take on the hottest runway trends. A trendsetter in her own right, her designs for her eponymous handbag line and modern take on resort attire for aloha wear purveyor Manuhealiʻi have garnered rave reviews.

Photos courtesy brands