December 2, 2011 9:59 pm

Sparkling company

Create an optimistic finale to the year by wearing all that glitters

What? Whether it’s via sparkling sequins or gleaming gold, this party season is full of shiny, happy people. Designers have taken eclectic inspiration for the theme – from glam rock to space age – but the end result is the same: to create an uplifting, optimistic finale to a complicated, difficult year. When things are bad you might as well dress up.

Where? At Moschino, maxi skirts, pleated knee-length skirts, evening dresses and even trouser suits came in a lamé fabric that resembled molten metal. Gold leather appeared on a midi skirt at Marc by Marc Jacobs and trouser suits at Balmain, which evoked a cross between Joan Jett’s stage outfits and an Oscar statuette. Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney were 24-carat too, the latter showing a dress with a print of scrunched-up foil for gift-wrap chic. At Prada, translucent paillettes on dresses and coats in 1960s shapes shimmered like the scales on a tropical fish, while at Christopher Kane small blue sequins on sheer dresses had more of a modern mermaid feel. Then there’s luxe Lurex, as seen on Antonio Berardi’s long red shimmery dresses: think Jessica Rabbit at the disco. Berardi says the specially woven metallic woollen Lurex “has such a sheen to it that it looks glittery and embroidered but isn’t heavy nor laborious”.

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Why? Amid the dark clouds of cuts, defaults and general financial gloom, this trend is a silver lining. Yes, it comes round every year but, according to Sarah Curran, founder of my-wardrobe.com: “While metallics, sequins and sparkle are always key trends for Christmas ... sales of sequin-embellished and metallic pieces are already up 74 per cent against last year and the party season hasn’t yet kicked in.” Sequins can be an expensive option in straitened times (although few pieces come close to the $29,650 price tag of Balmain’s crystal and mirror paillette-encrusted T-shirt dress, www.ssense.com) but at least you get plenty of bang for your buck.

Should you invest? As a life coach might say, everyone should shine. Worn well, sparkle is a mood enhancer. Just choose your glitz wisely because a little goes a long way: while head-to-toe sequins might work on Strictly Come Dancing, it could be overkill for the office party. It also needs to be worn with confidence: the woman Berardi envisages in his red Lurex gown is “a femme fatale, who is both ultra-feminine and extremely resolute in her convictions, certainly no wallflower”.

For an easy way to pick up on the look, try slouchy sequinned tops and knits worn with skinny trousers: the reflected light can be very flattering on the face. J Crew’s tees, sweatshirts and sweaters covered in sequins (from around £65, www.jcrew.com) have an effortless look that will cover most dress codes, as does Michael Kors’ steel-coloured open-knit jumper speckled with tiny silver sequins (£255, www.my-wardrobe.com). The most coveted glittery accessories of the season come from Miu Miu – think sparkly sunglasses, trainers, court shoes and ankle boots (£555, netaporter.com) – and Anya Hindmarch, whose multicoloured Valorie clutch (£350, www.anyahindmarch.com) looks like it is made from stardust. Prepare to dazzle.

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