Sparkle season

Stick to black, but add interest with a statement necklace, jewelled cuff or bag, writes Deirdre McQuillan


‘We all love diamonds, red lipstick and high heels,” says Roxanne Parker, who styled this shoot in Paris in a quintessentially classic way with tuxedos, daring but discreet little black dresses and sexy hints of black lace. Jewellery and bold accessories are thrown into relief against this soignée background, showing off the never ending possibilities of a familiar combination. The clothes are drawn from both Irish and international designers.

That master of evening allure, Yves St Laurent, the subliminal inspiration behind these looks, always believed that accessories were the essence of high fashion along with a basic wardrobe of classics – the tux, the blazer, the tailored trousers, the short straight skirt.

He debuted his now famous tuxedo in 1966, but it was Helmut Newton, 10 years later, who really captured the sexual power of androgyny, of women in male attire, with his famous photo of a model in a black tuxedo in a Paris alleyway alongside another dressed only in stilettos.

With black to the fore again – even Isabel Marant opted for monochrome on the French catwalks – YSL’s contemporary updates, leather jackets and pea coats that topped more clubby mini bondage or silver sequinned skirts, divided opinion whereas Alexander Wang’s monochrome takes on Balenciaga were, in contrast, graphic, sculptural and more elegant.

For the Christmas and winter season, style conscious women can stay fashionably safe in black by using bold necklaces, jewelled cuffs or ornamental earrings as top dressing, high heels with sleek trousers, and a tux or faux fur thrown casually over the shoulders.

In Peter O’Brien’s winter collection for Arnotts, his tux dresses were real winners, the sort of dresses that set off long gloves, a breathtaking pair of shoes or a bold necklace to great effect. They are now sold out.

“Traditionally we would not sell a huge amount of black, compared to others,” says Deirdre Devaney of Arnotts. “But this season with the resurgence of statement jewellery, we are seeing customers update their wardrobes with these pieces, with great hosiery and bags – and black provides the perfect foundation colour for all that.”

All jewellery and clothing from
Arnotts, Henry Street, Dublin 1

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