If I ever won an award (preferably an Oscar ) I would make sure I wore the mother of all ball gowns, bring the red carpet to a standstill, pose for the paps until my cheeks hurt and blow kisses at the adoring crowd. Well I can dream, right? Award season is well underway; the Golden Globes set the bar for exquisite style from Michelle Williams and Charlize Theron, the SAG awards let Angelina have her moment in Jenny Packham and the BAFTAs this week brought the black evening dress back to the fore. That said, celebrities do have the choice of every gown known to man; but not to worry, there are plenty of formal dresses making an appearance this season and at really affordable prices.
Celeb stylist in the making…
I was very lucky to be asked to dress Jennifer Maguire for this years’ Irish Film and Television awards and after careful consideration of an array of wonderful designs, we opted for a full length fish tail gown in navy satin by Irish designer, Claire O’Connor. Navy is a decadent colour and can be worn by all skin tones; plus it’s a very complimentary colour. Over the last year, Irish designers such as Claire, Jennifer Rothwell and Matt Doody have designed Oscar worthy pieces which I would love to see on the red carpet. They can more than compete with the more established global fashion houses and I await the profusion of such pieces over the coming years.
Designer at the right price
Now if you have a formal occasion coming up, and feel like donning a beautiful gown, I will point you in the direction of Debenhams. This week I popped over to London to take a look at the newly created line by Jenny Packham, called “No. 1”, exclusively for the department store. Affordability is key here, and Jenny has not compromised her vision in terms of quality or the wow factor. Jenny herself says of the collection, “My collaboration with Debenhams is a great opportunity for me to offer my signature style at an attainable price”. My favourite is the full length sweet red gown (€200 ), borrowing from a classic design which is synonymous with her collections. And if you want to complete the look, Jenny has also designed a large range of accessories and shoes to match. If you are going to be a bride this year, the jewellery pieces are definitely worth checking out! The full collection becomes available in Ireland from April.
Don’t forget the handbag
A celeb trend on the red carpet I quite like is the mini bag. Practically, I will admit that you wouldn’t fit more than a lipstick and your phone in one of these, but they are very easy on the eye. A designer called Judith Leiber pioneered the small bag over the last decade, which can retail at anything up to €5,000 for one of her creations but Accessorize have a great selection of these which can be used with a formal outfit, or something more casual to add the glam factor. If you are feeling a little crafty, you can add a chain to the bag to change it into an over the shoulder style too, however most come with a detachable strap.
And just for argument’s sake…
So if I was to award an Oscar to the best dressed of the award season, it would have to be Tilda Swinton. Now her style isn’t for everyone and she is known to be quite bold with her dress sense, but what I love about her is her individuality and the fact that she does not deviate from it. From Haider Ackermann to Dior Couture, she moves around designers in search of the ultimate look. Her winning gown for 2012, has to be at the Golden Globes, for simplicity and elegance. If you are unfamiliar with her style, she’s well worth a Google!
On that note, next week’s column will be coming to you from London Fashion Week. A week long adventure of shows, front rows and a lot of crazy outfits!
Lorna Claire Weightman