Stick to black, but add interest with a statement necklace, jewelled cuff or bag, writes Deirdre McQuillan
Above: Diamond and crystal earrings, €151, Swarovski; sheer black blouse, €425, Jill Stuart; black lace bra, €65, Mimi Holiday; black wool skirt, €620, Jill Stuart; pony print clutch, €119, Vince Camuto; crystal bracelet, €179, and cocktail ring, €157, both Swarovski
Pink dress with black lace overlay, €375, Jill Stuart; diamante clip-on earrings, €61, Agatha; crystal encrusted clutch, €125, Olga Berg; black crystal ring, €70, Folli Follie; black sheer spotted tights, €22, Falke; black satin shoes, €235, Lucy Choi
Left: Black sequin dress, €466, Vivienne Westwood; earrings, €495, and pendant, €495, both by Appleby; love knot ring, €198, Thomas Sabo; rose gold stacking rings, from €98 each, Thomas Sabo Middle: Black tux jacket, €360, Peter O’Brien; crystal drop earrings, €99, and crystal pendant, €167, both by Swarovski; love knot bracelet, €498, and silver bangle, €198, both by Thomas Sabo; gold watch, €249, Michael Kors; quilted patent leather clutch, €350, Lulu Guinness Right: Silk blouse, €315, Goat; gold leaf earrings, €129, Chupi; multi-chain necklace, €99, Agatha; black clutch, €470, Vivienne Westwood; 14ct gold stacking rings, from €299 each, Pandora; Russian gold bracelet, €63, and tassel bracelet, €63, both Alex & Ani
‘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