Saturday 16 December 2017

Lorraine, you nailed it. We need to lighten up on this craze for black

It's well known that black is the colour of choice in fashion circles -- the one we instinctively choose to make us appear sophisticated, sultry, confident and (most importantly), slim.

It's the look that we know is so easy to throw together first thing in the morning -- get up, grab little black dress, add black tights and shoes, throw on a colourful scarf/piece of statement jewellery and you're good to go.

But with a winter of doom and gloom on the horizon, the last thing we want to see is an army of women marching around shrouded in funeral garb -- it's just too depressing. We need some colour, something to brighten our lives.

And this season is especially lacking in vibrancy. The rails in women's clothes stores groan under kilos of black, charcoal, brown and inky blue garments made from heavy wool, jersey or -- this season's hottest trend -- shearling skins; not the sort of things to lift spirits.

And as a women's fashion magazine editor, I've been fighting tooth and nail to get together fashion spreads where the models have been shot with colour. There just seems to be a monotony of monochrome out there.


I blame it on the popularity of the Little Black Dress. Heralded as a woman's best friend, for too long we've been told that an LBD will dig you out of any sartorial hole. It'll go from day to night ... it'll respond to any sort of accessorising ... there's a style of LBD for everyone ... Sure, but it's also the far too easy option.

It's time to be different. To earn fashion brownie points by looking beyond the sea of sludge for a brighter treasure. More colourful pieces are out there, I've seen them.

Irish designer Richard Lewis is known for his jewel-shaded jerseys in raspberry, puce, jade green and scarlet. Joanne Hynes and American Philip Lim both have light, easy dresses in shocking pink, and Versace has, in true form, produced pieces for winter made with shockingly bright metallic patent leather (if you have a spare f7,550 to spend).

'King of Cling' Herve Leger continues to produce those flattering, form-fitting bandage dresses in a rainbow of shades. And in selecting them, the rewards will be worth it. The wearer will stand out from the crowd, and brighten our national gloomy disposition.

Lorraine Keane did just that on Tuesday night when she joined over 200 fashion followers to pay homage to Peter O'Brien in Arnotts. Lorraine caught my eye because on top of her uniform of black, she'd added the most magnificent metallic bolero jacket, woven with gold, copper and navy thread.

Hair tied back, minimal make-up and strappy Jimmy Choo cage shoe-boots completed a look that was effortless, but screamed confidence and style. She used the one bright piece to tremendous effect, and without resembling a human Christmas tree.

Woman have the lucky advantage of being able to introduce fun and colour into their appearance and to lift the environment around them, so why don't we do it more?

This year I'll be championing the Little RED Dress. It's been simmering on the style sidelines for a while.

I reckon Christmas 2010 is its big moment. A strong wintry colour that flatters most, it's a sophisticated statement that brings optimism and warmth.

It's equally as easy to dress up or down as black, but packs a much more spirited punch. Alexander McQueen always does a great ruby party dress, as does Diane Von Furstenbug. On the high street, Karen Millen understands the LRD. I might add leopard print shoes, or a metallic clutch, but I know, in keeping with the season, I'll be all about comfort and joy.

Melanie Morris is editor of IMAGE magazine

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