IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN: The holidays were made for dress-up extravagance, and this year designers are offering a dazzling collection of dresses to enthrall even the most fashion-blase soul. The feeling is gentle, romantic, individualistic, with an interesting blend of traditional and modern design features.
Accessorizing is equally thrilling, with large jewelry pieces, elegant golden purses, and wildly extravagant high heeled sandals. A recession may have set into the American (if not global) economy, but you would hardly know it from this holiday fare. Among the big themes on the Christmas/New Year’s dress calendar:
A BLACK AND WHITE STORY: This season, look for black and white extravagance everywhere! Beautiful black and white dresses bring images of crisp winter nights and bright, new-fallen snow. They have a timeless quality that underwrites a warm, traditional Christmas.
Expressing the story with elegance is Michael De Paulo’s beautiful strapless black and white dress with big, floral design and crystal-enhanced bodice. Douglas Hannant also works with black and white, but adds a placket of seductive netting to an otherwise strapless dress. Gauzy black flowers seem to fall down, vine-like from the waist. Very unique.
- You can stay with this look totally, by pairing it with fashionable black or white jewelry, or mimic the look with the black and white-themed pieces set against more colorful dress choices. One way or the other, do think about both black and white and black and white combined in jewelry for Christmas: It is hot, hot, hot this year!
- A unique twist on this theme is a white shell necklace with mother-of-pearl pendant. Or, a black-lip mother-of-pearl necklace with hanging black pendant. Both are exquisite! Also great for this look is a necklace of Bohemian glass and tiny faceted crystals spacing egg-shaped black freshwater pearls in iridescent gray. The neckpiece features a large black-lip mother-of-pearl pendant with jet crystals.
A SOFT PINK STORY: This is the ultimate feminine expression in the season’s dresses. Pale pink makes an aristocratic impression for holiday wear, seen, for example, in a strapless iridescent silk taffeta gown with back detailing by Roland Nivelais.
- Be creative in accessorizing this delicate look by choosing bridal jewelry for the ultimate romantic impression. Consider, for example, a necklace of tiny pave-like faux pearls with a center marquis crystal focal point cradled in smaller crystals. Dangling off it all is a classic teardrop pearl. Double the impact with matching earrings.
- Also elegant is a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set featuring a double row faux pearl necklace with a domed center pearl surrounded by crystals. Dropping off the necklace is an elegant faux pearl pendant.
A MATERIAL GIRL STORY: Billowy material that floats out from the dress itself gives a new look to formal Christmas wear. A fabulous strapless red-red dress from Lanvin made from enormous amounts of billowy material is very updated 2008-2009.
Likewise, a creamy white elegant dress with the mood of the slouchy thirties look to it, features a large swath of material pulled to the back of the dress, which then hangs down to form a full but subtle train. Ohhh, so feminine and romantic! These are the kind of dresses you can swirl around in, perfect for dancing.
- And, while you’re dancing, accessorize the look with a carry-everywhere little minaudiere that would make even Judith Leiber look twice! Taken from a fabulous collection of evening bags, choose a little pouch in satin, beads or leather, as charming as it is practical and surprisingly inexpensive!
- Equally fabulous evening bags include clutches done in rich, pleated satin. Or, consider an evening bag in crushed satin with snakeskin appearance that gives a whole new dimension to evening wear! — This bag comes in your choice of five intense holiday colors, including a wild and dramatic red, set off by shimmering gold plate hardware.
A GOLDEN AGE STORY: Quiet gold is another hot look for the season. Think in terms of a matte-like gold lame skirt by Dries Van Noten….a soft-shine ribbed short- sleeve gold sweater by Marc Jacobs…or a slacksuit of brushed linen rubbed with gold by Ralph Lauren. The look shimmers, but quietly. It shines, but not too much. It is altogether super-rich, and gives otherwise conservative clients the opportunity to try “glitz” without being really “glitzy.”
- To accessorize the look brilliantly, stay with gold! Try a large turquoise necklace in gold plate with trendy circle design. For a more formal look, consider an elegant necklace featuring rays of rhinestones splaying out, each encircled with a gold plated wire loop.
- A classy look in bracelets features large tile beads that dome up, in crackly soft gold color. This works with both dressy and casual styles, and gives a touch of richness without the expense!