03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Toga Party: Why Grecian Dresses Don't Go Out Of Style

Designers say the economic downturn and resulting implosion of the luxury market has resurrected the Grecian dress, which in the last few decades has emerged as the go-to look at times of financial or social turmoil. Valerie Steele, director of the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, notes that Grecian dresses were big in the 1970s, after the social revolution of the 1960s, as well as in the 1990s, after the excesses of the 1980s. "We've been in this time of excess and we're in a clean moment now," says Zac Posen, who showed Grecian-style dresses in his fall 2009 runway show. "The Grecian dress is part of that clean moment."

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