A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.

Fashion for the Christmas party . . . and beyond

These gorgeous pieces can be worn long after the festive season has passed

Deborah Veale autumn/winter 2019 collection: Grey coat with contrast sleeves €525, deborahveale.ie.

Deborah Veale autumn/winter 2019 collection: Grey coat with contrast sleeves €525, deborahveale.ie.

 

As Christmas beckons, fashionistas are falling head over stiletto heels in love with Deborah Veale’s collection of elegant outerwear, party dresses and sophisticated separates from The Label. The award-winning designer has always captured the attention of style-hunters with her distinctive tailoring feminist twists and sustainable, long-lasting fabrics. The ’90s-inspired pinstripe jackets, the gold and black checkerboard skirt worn with cool eco leather jacket and intrinsically comfortable flexible separates create a wardrobe that will last a long time after the festive season has passed. Her eveningwear excels, with sculpted, fitted silhouettes and contoured easy-to-wear pieces in beautiful fabrics that are perfect for the professional party woman.

For daywear, including those Christmas lunches, The Label presents relaxed jersey jackets with leather trims teamed with high-waisted jersey skirts. Boardroom meetings can be navigated in velvet pinstripe pants and paired with sharp shirts for the ultimate in easy chic. Crisp white cotton blouses and silk velvet vest tops bring the looks together. For evening, the range offers ultra-flattering pencil dresses and will-o’-the-wisp slip dresses, along with belt-tie jackets and a gorgeous funnel-neck tailored coat for either day or night.

Fabrics include stretch jersey, wool cashmere and soft wool pinstripe flannel, contrasted with iridescent textures of shimmering velvets, metallic knits, corded laces and lurex, with accents of eco leather and real leather trims, ornate gold buttons and fold highlights. While classic black dominates, jewel tones feature heavily, including gorgeous greens and rich navy with textured accents.

Style leader

Another style leader comes from Susannah Jackson – not to be confused with Suzanne Jackson of the make-up company – who also has an eye on professional desk-to-dinner transitions. This season, she has come up with a capsule niche range of luxury jersey dresses in a range of flattering shapes for working women who have to make a number of social engagements after leaving the office.

With long commutes, many executives don’t have time to rush home and get changed before heading out on the town again. The dresses are also perfect for the festive fanfare of receptions and cocktail evenings. The red Ellie dress comes in a soft, smooth A-line shape tapering to the knee that is easy to wear. It accommodates a jacket in the office by day and can then be switched on with a pair of sassy heels and statement jewellery from Kilkenny or Newbridge for a polished fine-tuned finish.

The stretch jersey fabric in basic white, red, black or prints also comes in a Maie wrap, a Carmen pencil dress or a limited viscose style called Lily. They are all machine-washable too – saving on dry cleaning costs and carbon footprints.

Colette satin navy dress by Caroline and Nicola Kilkenny, €297, carolinekilkenny.com.
Colette satin navy dress by Caroline and Nicola Kilkenny, €297, carolinekilkenny.com.

Caroline and Nicola Kilkenny are also cutting a dash on the Christmas dance floor with their stunning Colette satin navy dress with feather details. The purple Delphine styles and the Nettie number in the range are a big hit for corporate networkers too. The award-winning sisters have stayed on top of their game by using top-quality Italian fabrics like silks and jacquards – no scrimping with their primping.

Party professionals

Debenhams caters for a wide range of party professionals and its stable of stylish designers includes Julien Macdonald, Principles, Jenny Packham as well as Topshop and Oasis. Long-line dresses and floaty skirts are part of the Debenhams package this season – from the sparkling tulle dress to the sequin skirts and scoop-necked tops that come in velvets and stretch Lycra.

Great buys for glam guys are rolling out on the red carpet in Topman, Next and Zara – these regulars always have a number of party-proof options for the busy executive. You can dispense with the tie and the stiff collar for these Christmas occasions and splash out with the new swackets and shumpers.

Grab the attention of your work associates by injecting that colourful party pizazz into your outfit. Think reds, yellows and blues to give a lift out of the ordinary greys and black suits that dominate the drearier days of winter. Graham Norton always entertains us with his unusual styles and funky details. No harm taking a leaf out of his winter wardrobe for a bit of star-studded glamour and festive fashion flair.