We’re rocketing through November towards Christmas and the party season, which inevitably means plenty of festive gatherings and occasions. Whether you’re heading out for a work dinner, a big family reunion or a night on the tiles with a bunch of your best friends, you will need a selection of party pieces that will have you looking and feeling fabulous. The A/W runways always offer an eye-catching and covetable array of party dresses, and 2015 was no exception; the collections from New York, London, Milan and Paris popped and fizzed with fantastical colours, textures and silhouettes. Many of us couldn’t hope to own some of the best looks on the runways, because prices for premium pieces can run up to thousands of pounds; however, they provide ample inspiration for when we’re shopping for ourselves with our own budgets. If, however, we had a dream budget that allowed us to invest in three partywear pieces this season, these are the looks we would definitely go for.
Balmain x H&M
It’s only been a matter of weeks since this haute-high street collaboration hit stores but for those of us who missed out, the wound is still sore. The website crashed, stores were inundated with fashion-hungry customers and most of the collection exceeded the usual prices offered during H&M collaborations, with some of the dresses costing over £300, making shopping the collection futile anyway. There were, however, some opulent, baroque pieces that instantly caught our eyes and were worn by fashion favourites Jourdan Dunn, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid in the much publicised advertising campaign. We love the heritage-inspired black and gold dress worn by Kendall in this campaign shot, which was subsequently worn by her sister Kylie at the collection’s official launch (shop similar styles at Mary Jane Fashion). A fun, statement mini-dress, it is flirty but empowering, with a strong colour palate and an intricately constructed texture. We’d team it with a pair of over-the-knee-high boots and a sleep up-do.
Universally renowned for swirling and whirling prints in bright colours, Emilio Pucci took a sultry turn this season with a collection that shimmered with heavy embellishments and fiendishly dramatic hemlines. This dress in particular would be our go-to: sporting a bandage style with strips of gold, silver and blue embellishments over a sheer black overlay, the dress plays a sultry game of peek-a-boo, whilst retaining some sophistication with elegant long sleeves and a high slashed neckline. This piece would be great for wearing on the dancefloor; all of those shimmering sequins would have us sparkling and glinting away all night long.
Under the leadership of Hedi Slimane, the heritage French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent has taken a dramatic turn for edginess. With vampy eye makeup, shaggy bobs and fish-net tights, these looks are not for the faint of heart; but when worked with proper gusto, will have you looking like a rock chick worthy of the title. We love this monochrome, patchwork dress complete with a slit up the side. With a basic cut, the harlequin palate does all the talking, whilst a contrasting petite ladylike finish is given in the form a thin-strap belt. Like the models on the runway, we’d team this look with a shaggy coat; we would, however, also swap-in the ripped and torn fishnets for a pair of sheer tights. The heavy, feline eyeliner would be an absolute keeper.
100 Unforgettable Dresses is filled with the stories, secrets, intrigue, and insights behind the most indelible dresses in our collective memories. Featuring looks from the runway, film, television, the red carpet, and the worlds of royalty and politics, this book celebrates the staying power of these gorgeous, sleek, sultry, and outrageous creations as well as the lasting impact they’ve had in fashion, popular culture, and our own lives. More than two hundred images, a witty, informative text, and exclusive interviews with the designers and the women who wore the dresses reveal the initial spark and captivating drama behind the making of each dress. Also featured throughout are extensive anecdotes and observations about great style makers—Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Cate Blanchett—highlighting the conception of their most spectacular looks and examining their lasting influence.
Here is the tale of how a canny Gianni Versace helped an unknown Elizabeth Hurley become world famous overnight, thanks to the paparazzi frenzy whipped up by her red-carpet appearance in his now legendary safety-pin dress. Learn about the unique wedding gown Narciso Rodriguez designed exclusively for Caroline Bessette-Kennedy that inspired a whole new generation of brides. Go on the set of Top Hat, where Ginger Rogers’s ostrich-feather-laden dress began to molt immediately upon arrival, its flying feathers bringing the film’s production to a halt. Of course, the seminal work of exemplary designers—Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress and Christian Lacroix’s pouf, Chanel’s little black dress and Valentino’s infamous red ones, Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap and Marc Jacobs’s grunge collection—is featured throughout, with plenty of inside information on what inspired the invention of each piece.
With its wonderful anecdotes, fascinating facts, and just enough juicy gossip, 100 Unforgettable Dresses is a bewitching read for everyone who enjoys sensational clothes, movies, television, and music. Whether you’re a fashion maven, a red-carpet addict, a celebrity tracker, or a pop-culture aficionado, you won’t be able to put this book down!