How Ghost dresses became a celeb-approved summer staple

Holly Willoughby appeared on This Morning today wearing a pretty green floral midi dress from British high street brand Ghost.

Made from a lightweight georgette fabric with a shirred bodice and sheer sleeves, the dress (which costs £169 and is already sold out) is typical of the brand, which was founded back in 1984 and has become known for its floral prints and flattering, feminine cuts.

Which is perhaps why Willoughby has had a bit of a lockdown love-in with the brand, with today’s appearance marking the 11th time she has worn Ghost since February.

Just last week she wore the Audree Wendy Confetti Hearts dress (£169, shop it here), and back in mid-April she opted for the brand’s black Lili silk polka dot dress (£179, shop it here) and then the brand’s Marley Dress £120 in Flossy Folk Floral Blue (£120, shop it in red here) the following day. The most fashion-forward look came a few days later, when Willoughby wore the white daisy print puff sleeved Lucinda dress (£169, shop it here).

Holly is not the only celebrity harnessing the power of a Ghost summer dress.

The Duchess of Cambridge recently took the her doorstep of her Anmer Hall home in Norfolk to clap for the nations carers wearing the label’s blue Anouk floral satin midi. Choosing, alongside her whole family, to wear the colour of the NHS as a nod of appreciation, Kate’s dress, which cost £129, quickly sold out following her appearance. But that wasn’t the first time the Duchess had donned Ghost’s blue florals.

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Kate had also previously (secretly) worn the brand on a trip to Pakistan in October 2019, when she wore the super pretty pale blue floral ‘Avery’ Ghost dress to a function held at the British High Commission. On both occasions Kate looked breezy, effortless and approachable, whilst simultaneously put together.

And this is the magic of a good Ghost dress, for under £200 (and often under £150), you get something pretty yet super practical which looks just as good paired with stilettos for a formal event (as Willoughby wears hers on This Morning) as it does paired with trainers to pop out for a walk in the park.

A sartorial magic that no doubt wasn’t lost on Carrie Symonds, who chose to wear a pink floral Ghost dress for her debut appearance outside No. 10 as ‘First Girlfriend.’ Not only was it a savvy move to champion the British high street at such a moment, but also at £120, the puff sleeve midi made her feel relatable.

Carrie Symonds waits for Boris Johnson to arrive in Downing Street after he officially became prime minister (Getty Images)

Much of Ghost’s ascending popularity is thanks to the gentle yet assured rebrand undertaken at the hands of Sameera Azeem, who was appointed creative director back in 2016.

Originally a slinky, bias cut dress-centric brand, Ghost, founded in 1984 by designer Tanya Sarne, thrived in the 1990s. Worn by nineties models and It girls, the brand was so popular by 2004 that it had 11 boutiques, eight perfumes and plans to branch out into swimwear and denim. Two years later, however, Sarne left the brand, after which Ghost disappeared off the fashion week schedule and there followed a decade of declining sales.

Since she was brought on board by Ghost’s new owner Touker Suleyman (of Dragons Den fame), Azeem has managed to breathe new life into the brand by reducing the price point, adding bold florals and leopard to their roster of bias cut pastel-coloured viscose dresses and focusing on Instagram influencers as a means of advertising. In 2014, two years before she took the job, the average age of the customer was 50. Today, it’s 30-35.

No longer just a destination for ethereal bridesmaid dresses, Ghost is now a go-to high street destination for every day, work and partywear. According to The Telegraph, sales on Ghost’s website alone were up 95 per cent in 2017 compared to 2014, and it has already expanded from just one UK shop to four, as well as being stocked in 32 bridal shops across the country, and sold online at Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and John Lewis.

When one throws in a handful of seriously high profile brand devotees, it’s clear Ghost’s star is on the ascent.

Shop Ghost’s best summer dresses:

Lucinda dress, £169 | Buy now

Audree Dress Confetti Heart, £169​ | Buy now

Jolie Dress Poppy Ditsy, £89​ | Buy now

Lili Dress Happy Spot, £179 | Buy now​

Jo Dress Dakota, £89 | Buy now

Ghost Marley Dress Red £145 | Buy now

Poet dress in Lemon, £60 | Buy now


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