Hello you Fabulous Fashionistas! Today I would like to explore cocktail attire; specifically cocktail dresses. I must say that yours truly is quite saddened by the rise of casual dressing. While I certainly don’t want to see gowns and tiaras at a backyard barbecue, the dearth of women who “dress” nowadays is quite alarming. I suppose it all comes down to respect. In my mind, when one attends social functions such as cocktail parties, the opera or a Broadway show, it shows respect to the hostess, musicians and performers to dress well for the occasion. After all, my dears, if a talented performer gives it their all for several hours for your enjoyment, the least you can do is show respect by making an effort to look nice, hmmm? But enough soapbox – let’s investigate these fabric confections!
Below we have an absolutely divine frock, no? Note the clever use of the chiffon; it is the same fabric in the sheer :shawl,” the bodice and the overskirt, but how it is handled makes all the difference. The shawl is cleverly tucked and wrapped around the bodice of the dress to create ethereal sleeves that gently rise up to frame and highlight the woman’s lovely shoulders. That flattering vision continues down to the ruched bodice that exhibits the quintessential 1950s wasp waist. The contrast between the smooth shawl and the textured ruching adds interest. Further attention is drawn to the shoulder and bodice by the additions of an attractive diamond brooch; adding a nice pop of icy sparkle to the dark dress. The skirt also exhibits the same chiffon as the overskirt which will flutter attractively as the wearer moves. Note the slightly contrasting color of the silk skirt that just peeks out from under the chiffon overskirt. Add crinolines to add further body to the skirts and you have a lovely cocktail look.
In this wonderful Ceil Chapman cocktail dress, chiffon is used again yet with a different results. Here the look is more streamlined and only the overskirt adds expansion and movement to the overall silhouette. Once again, we have delicate sheer sleeves that alluringly reveal and conceal. The addition of the large, almost chunky belt makes a terrific contrast with the delicate fabric. And… that hat! Eliza Doolittle meets 5th Avenue. To. Die. For.
Here’s a fascinating little number; the dress itself is pretty basic, but the addition of the ruched “apron” on the front absolutely makes this dress. The apron adds interest, covers flaws (nothing better for hiding a bit of a tummy!) and took quite a large amount of fabric, I must say. Also, observe the two-dresses-in-one effect achieved by the extremely clever tack of beginning the apron at, and slightly around the back of the hips narrowing as it moves down towards the knees forming a V. From straight-on, one might just see the apron and think this was a dress with a pencil skirt, yet as soon as the wearer moves, the full skirt below fans out and is revealed – brilliant!
Last up is a wonderfully patterned cocktail dress from Adele Simpson, known for her ladylike matching ensembles. In this dress, the ends of the waist sash help form a train of sorts. Picture this dress without that detail and then you will realize how well-conceived that addition is; it would still be a pretty dress, but the train-like sash flowing behind makes the dress extraordinary by adding extra femininity, movement and interest. Regard how the sash has the same pattern as the dress, yet when compressed to be worn around the waist, it takes on the look of a contrasting pattern. Gorgeous!
Darlings, I hope you have enjoyed this foray into cocktail-land. Perhaps now you see why my soon-to-be-released fashion line, Repro-Retro, offers glamorous cocktail dresses! Stay tuned for more!