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EVENING WEAR is taking on a new personality filled with intense color and elaborate designs and embellishments.  The looks are often very different, one from the other, but the overall constant is dressy, not formal.  These outfits are definitely not meant for before-7 PM dressing. Accessories for the look are glitzy, chic, and  individualistic. 


There is a lot of detail in all the elements of this new leisure-time story.  Sequins, embroideries, beads, crystals, rhinestones, very fancy materials, ruffles, gathers, big material bows, fabulous metallic belts and eye-popping floral prints. Just looking at the models parading in Paris and New York makes you smile. What assertive, yet romantic and pretty ideas!  What stunning styling and embellishments!  You have to be going somewhere special to look like this.  You have to be doing something special to look like this. 


Accessories for the new look can be a delight to determine.  Focus on earrings.

Don’t forget a charming little evening bag, like a sweet, embellished clutch or a luxurious, swingy little minaudiere.  These new dresses are just made for rich, wonderful accessories like this!


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THE FIRST IMMEDIATE IMPACT you get from the new look is color.  It is shocking, saturated, gem-like.  Versace has a delightful hot pink shortie dress with a single strap over one shoulder.  All-over clusters of beaded embellishment are amazing, rich, and luxurious, even if it is difficult to imagine how you would sit down in a dress like this.  This is a very, very young dress meant for grown-up girls, although it would probably lose some of its luster if worn by someone past her twenties.


How would you accessorize it?  Well, Versace showed it off as-is, without accessories, but oh!  It just begs for something equally wonderful as it is.  Bracelets are the first requirement.  Dresses like this almost demand something big and wild at the wrist (or at both wrists, to be very updated).


Remember those wrist-corsages we wore prom night?  Well, translate them into regular bracelets, and you’ve got the idea.  Little delicate bracelets would simply be overwhelmed by these dresses!  Hey, try metallic cuffs!  Or dressy bangles, shimmery gold or silver plate.


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BIG, SUPER-COLORFUL FLOWERS that look like explosions of fabulous fireworks describes the sheer fabric used in a very adult-oriented dress from Nathan Jenden.  This lovely creation is wrapped, island-style, and pulled off to the left side of the waist. The hemline is below-the-knee. The material rises from a strapless basic design over the shoulder in a pouf of flowers.   Again, the designer opted to show his dress off without competition from accessories but have we got ideas for this and others like it!


To start with, the gorgeous model for the Jenden dress was fittingly Polynesian-looking, and jewelry in keeping with the South Seas would look great!  Try bamboo bracelets. Or floral designs. Or, wooden ring bracelets.  These are admittedly more casual, but can still work well with dressy outfits that have an island mystique. Or, go with gems. Big, eye-of-the-Buddha sized gems, in emerald or ruby (or crystal), and set into the new cocktail rings so popular across the country.  Put rings on both hands, on several fingers. You can’t overdo it!


Beyond color, this new look is also strongly characterized by wispy materials.  Chiffons.  Silks. Very lovely.  Monique Lhuiller presented a typical example in her bright yellow full skirted mid-calf-length dress with an elaborate, bejeweled dark belt.


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ANOTHER KEY FACTOR in the evening wear this season is FUN.  Christian Dior offered an orange-red mini skirted dress with spaghetti straps and lots of beaded action across the breasts and down below the tight-fitted waist.  With it:  Wild, swinging crystal earrings, very long! 


Balmain focused his attention on a vibrant, sky blue strapless silk chiffon dress with criss-cross beading from the waist to the high hemline.  Oh, do these dresses say dancing!  Playing!  Look for them in South Beach, and other hot playlands across the country.  But while they are perfect for resort, they are in no way limited to that category.  Are they urban?  Well, we have yet to see if conservative fashion centers like New York or Atlanta would go quite this girlie and brash. Our opinion: Wear these outfits everywhere, and enjoy the attention!


Almost every fancy new dress is coordinated with extravagant, super high heeled slipper-shoes. Many of the shoes feature ankle straps in crystal or colorful beads, looking like big bracelets by themselves.  The shoes are invariably color-matched to the dress. That can make choosing a bracelet more difficult, because you want the pieces to go together, not conflict.  Here’s where metallic and crystal bracelets can shine!  They’ll go with the shoes, and not fight them.


In the midst of big, bold and beautiful, there is still room for small and dainty.  That is in chokers worn above these mostly strapless creations.  Long necklaces just won’t make it.  Look for delicate chains with a small pendant, like a heart, or a small crystal. Or, you can opt for fancier wear, with rhinestone necklaces circling the neck and raising eye attention toward the face. Match these necklaces with long rhinestone earrings and you’ve got a dynamite set for the new party wear.  Now…make it an evening!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

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