In 2010 the maxidress slit to the thigh burst onto the scene as a backlash to the micro-minis that were dominating the bodycon-obsessed fashion world. But they didn’t stray too far from that style, being themselves sleek, figure-hugging cuts with va-va-voom sex appeal, destined mostly for the red carpet. In 2012 things are vastly different in the floor-length dress world. Read on for the full report to find out how the high slit dress is being reworked for spring 2012. Click the thumbnails for full pictures High slit dress in 2012 While past seasons have been all about showing the maximum amount of leg, spring 2012 offers up a greater range of options. The daywear slit dress There’s a new sub-breed of slit dress in spring 2012. It’s not something you can define easily in terms of colour or cut, but rather it’s a quality: namely, it’s effortless. Casual maxi dress with slit at Yigal Azrouel, S/S ’12 How that sense of effortless is generated comes down to both the piece and the wearer, but it’s usually that the structure is looser and more flowing, the fabric is more casual, and it’s played down with easy accessories and unfussy beauty looks. For example, a silk skirt with a high slit can become effortless daywear by adding a simple cotton tank and pair of casual boots. A body-conscious, cutaway, shimmering gown with a slit to the hip on the other hand – especially when married to strappy heels- probably fails at the effortless tag. For this type of piece it doesn’t matter if the slit is on the side, middle, or double; it can even be a shirt-dress unbuttoned in the most casual of ways as per the trend towards spring layering. Daywear open dresses at Lyn Devon S/S ’12 The evening slit dress The alternative are long slit skirts or maxi dresses in flowing fabrics that give a not-so-subtle hint of leg as one walks – or rather struts – along. In fact, they give more than a hint of leg. They show off the whole leg with the split reaching the top of the thigh. For an even greater visual impact, the split will pass the top of the thigh and reach the hip. There may be a single side split, a centre split, or dual side splits with a panel of fabric that falls along the middle section. The difference here is that the whole look oozes glamour, whether it’s of the Grecian draped kind or the clinging red carpet variety. Slit dress with plunge at Azzaro, S/S ’12 For spring 2012 Azzaro took the glamour extra far with both plunging neckline and double slits, creating a maxi dress that left little to the imagination. Elie Saab’s were softer in layers of floating chiffon, while designers like Elie Tahari and Ungaro added an exotic feel with dies and rich prints. Printed maxi dress at Emanuel Ungaro, S/S ’12 Trend updates Fire on the dance floor: to-die-for disco styling (29 Mar 2013)Summertime chic worth replicating Rihanna's all white now for Harper's Bazaar Casually revealing Karlie Kloss vamp, not vampire Adjustable sensuality: Luca Luca Daisy Lowe: dressing for curves Aurora Sansone: prints to the max From red carpet to front row Sensual smock Edgy yet classic in Tank Two-faced Parisian glamour La Mania's edible delights Elie Saab: red carpet calling An elegant dress split from Mexico Marc Jacobs' girls of glamour Toned for the coming season Effortless evening dressing: Angelina Jolie Elie Saab Couture Fall 2010 Emma Waston: thigh high split Thigh high slits in Balmain Fall 2010 Thigh high slits from Alber Elbaz Elie Saab's floor-length perfection Elizabeth Hurley wears a very high split dress Tetyana Brazhnyk wears the high split Rihanna hip split: Jasmine di Milo dress For picture inspiration of dresses with high splits, click on the thumbnails above and browse through the entire gallery. The high dress slit in 2010 It will probably come as no surprise that the most knock-out examples of thigh-high dress splits were on the Versace runway. After all, infusing pure sex into a dress is a Versace speciality. Other prominent examples came from Pucci – breezy, free flowing, and ultimately sensual – and Lanvin, whose draping Grecian styles were given an injection of thigh-baring modernity. How it was worn in 2010 Heels are a must. Flat shoes don’t do the look justice, and will cancel out the utter sexiness of the above the thigh split. Tanned, toned, bare legs are perfect for this look in summer. But you can also experiment with a peep of interesting stockings. Look to Francesco Scognamiglio’s fishnet idea for inspiration (pictures below); or if you’re daring enough, try a peek of exposed stayups. Go for light, breezy fabrics for the Spring / Summer season. Movement and flow are a big part of the charm. Take inspiration from the Grecian trend and marry a draping Goddess dress with a high split for the ultimate in summer sultriness. Obviously this is not best as a day-to-day street trend nor as day wear. Pull it out on occasions where you really want to turn heads.