Last summer, a sacklike white dress mottled with black polka dots selling at Zara for $50 was all the rage on Instagram. But while the discomfiting qualities of 2019 may have called for something shapeless and relaxed, the sheer horror of 2020 demands an incredulous level of mythical escapism. Enter: the strawberry dress that took over TikTok.
The dress is a cotton candy cloud dotted with sequined strawberry motifs by Lirika Matoshi, 24, a fashion designer in New York. With its pastel pink tulle overlay, plunging neckline, and gently puffed sleeves, it looks like something Marie Antoinette would wear if she were a modern-day influencer.
The designer, Lirika Matoshi, said the dress is based on her own recollections of youth. “It reminds you of better times,” she said.
But Ms. Matoshi grew up in Kosovo during the war, and her childhood was hardly a frolic through a sweet-smelling strawberry patch. “I grew up with horror stories of how much damage the war did to our country, how women were raped and innocent people were massacred,” she said. “My only dream was that one day I will travel and I will represent my country and I will help them as much as I can.”
Ms. Matoshi had expected sales of her diaphanous frocks to fall because of the pandemic; instead, she said, sales have increased 1,000 percent since it went on sale in January. “My whole life is this dress,” she said.