The purple Speak Now dress that Taylor Swift wore on her Speak Now tour in 2011-2012 has become an iconic look for the singer. The unique purple cocktail dress sparked interest among fans regarding where it came from and who designed it. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the origins and details of Taylor Swift’s purple Speak Now tour dress.
The Speak Now Tour
The Speak Now tour ran from February 2011 to March 2012 in support of Taylor Swift’s third studio album, Speak Now. The tour visited Asia, Europe, North America, and Australasia. Over 1.5 million people attended the Speak Now tour, which grossed over $123 million.
The Speak Now album was released in October 2010 and marked another evolution in Swift’s songwriting and musicality. Reviews praised the album’s broader pop palette mixed with confessional lyrics. Going into the supporting tour, there was intrigue around what Swift’s stage costumes would look like for these new songs.
The Purple Dress
For the North American leg of the Speak Now tour in 2011, Swift enlisted the help of designer Jenny Packham to create a series of dresses. The goal was to reflect the romantic yet playful sensibility of the new album.
One of the standout looks was a knee-length, spaghetti strap cocktail dress made of floaty chiffon material in a deep purple shade. The dress featured a low v-neckline and bodice adorned with shiny silver and lavender beads arranged in floral designs. The flowing skirt flared out into elegant draping and layers, with more lavender beadwork sprinkling the hem.
Swift first wore the purple dress for a performance of “Enchanted” at a tour stop in New Jersey in May 2011. Fans immediately took notice of the striking gown, praising its romantic style and bold color. Swift went on to wear the purple dress multiple times throughout the North American leg of the Speak Now tour, cementing its status as one of the standout fashion moments.
The Designer – Jenny Packham
The mastermind behind Taylor Swift’s memorable purple Speak Now dress was British fashion designer Jenny Packham. Packham launched her eponymous label in 1988, gaining acclaim for her sophisticated yet feminine evening gowns and bridal wear.
Packham has dressed everyone from Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie to the Duchess of Cambridge. Her designs combine delicate embellishments with elegant silhouettes, resulting in dresses that manage to be both glamorous and whimsical.
Jenny Packham was a natural fit when Swift and her team were looking for tour looks that would capture the Speak Now era. Packham’s specialty in embellished, romantic gowns aligned perfectly with the aesthetic Swift wanted to portray.
The purple Speak Now dress exemplified Packham’s skills – the beading and color made a statement while the cut flattered Swift’s frame and emanated a distinctly feminine vibe. Even years later, the purple dress remains one of Swift’s most beloved tour outfits.
An integral part of what made Taylor Swift’s Speak Now tour dress so impactful was the rich, vibrant purple color. But why purple specifically?
Purple has some symbolic associations that connect nicely with themes from the Speak Now album. As a blend of passionate red and tranquil blue, purple can represent a balance between heart and mind. Speak Now’s songs deal heavily with matters of the heart, so purple nods to that emotionally-driven content.
At the same time, purple is linked to creativity and imagination. The color embodies Swift taking her music in new, experimental directions on Speak Now. Purple also stands out on stage, helping Swift make a colorful splash during live performances.
On a simpler level, Swift may have just been drawn to the shade for its bold, eye-catching appeal. The purple cocktail dress complimented her fair skin and blonde hair, allowing Swift to stand out from any busy background. Fans immediately connected with seeing Swift decked out in this rich, unexpected color.
Impact and Legacy
While Taylor Swift has become known as a fashion icon today, the purple Speak Now dress stands out as one of the first major fashion moments in her career. The immediate frenzy it caused showed Swift’s potential as a budding style star.
In the years since, fashion analysts have named it one of Swift’s most unforgettable tour costumes. The dress captured Swift on the cusp of mega-stardom while still maintaining her down-to-earth image. It also cemented Jenny Packham as a key player in developing Swift’s elevated, princess-worthy stage style.
The purple Speak Now dress also demonstrated Swift’s ability to use her outfits to strengthen her musical narratives. The color and girlish vibes perfectly complemented Speak Now’s emotional, intimate songwriting. Fashion and music came together in this iconic look.
Above all, the purple dress remains a fan-favorite for its sparkling, charismatic energy – so much so that Swift gave it an encore. Over a decade after its debut, she slipped into a recreate of the purple gown once again for her 2022 Eras Tour, delighting long-time fans.
Details of the Dress
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the specific details that make up Taylor Swift’s iconic purple Speak Now tour dress:
- Fabric and materials: The gown is crafted from flowing chiffon, a lightweight, delicate material that drapes beautifully. The chiffon offers movement as Swift dances and twirls on stage.
- Silhouette: The dress has a classic cocktail silhouette, hitting at the knees. The skirt flares out from the waist into a subtly A-line shape.
- Neckline: A rounded v-neckline trimmed in lavender beads plunges slightly at the center.
- Straps: Thin spaghetti straps allow Swift’s shoulders to stay bare.
- Bodice: The bodice is embellished in beads arranged in floral designs in silver and lavender hues. The patterns swirl across the top of the dress and halfway down the skirt.
- Hemline: Like the neckline, the hemline also features more ornate beaded detailing for a polished finish.
- Color: The dress uses a rich, jewel-toned purple that almost appears to glow under stage lighting.
Many designers have aimed to recreate and modernize this dress over the years. But none can quite capture the same charming, whimsical energy of that first original purple gown Swift twirled across the stage in.
Given its huge popularity among fans, there have been countless attempts by both high-end designers and everyday fashionistas to recreate Taylor Swift’s purple Speak Now dress over the years. Let’s look at some of the more prominent examples:
Unsurprisingly, Jenny Packham herself has reimagined the Speak Now dress a few times. For the 2013 Grammys, Packham designed a lavender chiffon gown for Swift with similar draping and sparkling embellishments. The light purple color was a fresh spin on the original Speak Now shade.
Packham also collaborated with retailer Bebe in 2015 on a capsule collection inspired by Swift’s 1989 album looks. The collection included a version of the purple dress rendered in bright blue and with amidi skirt length.
AMAs 2019 Dress
When Swift was named Artist of the Decade at the 2019 American Music Awards, her stylists customized a dress to pay homage to some of her most famous outfits. The purple Speak Now dress was one of them, recreated in the form of a single strap adorned with purple beads.
Numerous Taylor Swift fans have posted TikTok videos attempting DIY versions of the purple Speak Now dress. Using tulle, chiffon, appliques, dye, and fabric paint, fans have replicated the gown as best they can at home. Though unable to match the original’s fine details, their enthusiasm highlights the dress’s ongoing relevance.
2022 Eras Tour
During her 2022 Eras Tour, Taylor Swift thrilled fans by bringing back a sparkling recreation of the purple dress designed by Jenny Packham. The remake was true to the original down to the beaded floral appliques. Swift wearing the new version proved the timeless appeal of this Speak Now style.
The purple Jenny Packham dress that Taylor Swift wore on her 2011 Speak Now tour remains an instantly recognizable staple of her fashion history. Its splendid purple color, touching on themes from the Speak Now album, made a strong visual impact at concerts. Both the dress and the tour marked major milestones in Swift’s evolution as an artist and fashion icon.
While various attempts have tried to capture its magic, the glimmering purple original still stands as a one-of-a-kind Swift stage costume. It joins her repertoire of dresses that fuse musical storytelling with creativity and personality through fashion. A decade later, the Speak Now purple dress retains its star power and influence.