The 50 Best: WHAT TO WEAR FOR THE NEXT THOUSAND YEARS

Thank God for the new millennium - it is the all-time perfect excuse to go shopping. For even if it looks like you will spend That Evening at home in front of the telly, you should still be dressed suitably to welcome in the new era. Luckily, designers and high-street chains alike have outdone themselves in their effort to satisfy our lust for all things sparkly, glittery, sexy, outrageous and just plain party-tastic - and Beth Dadswell, our expert stylist, knows which are the ones you should be seen celebrating in ...

Photographs by John Knock

10 BEST WITH SEQUINS AND SPARKLE

10 BEST MODERN MILLENNIUM SILHOUETTES

10 BEST ELEGANT EVENING DRESSES

10 BEST WITH EMBROIDERY AND FRINGING

10 BEST FUTURISTIC FROCKS

1 Miss Selfridge

This Lurex, crocheted silver chain-mail number is unusual, eye-catching and affordable. How much: pounds 45. Stockists: Miss Selfridge branches nationwide (enq: 0800 915 9900).

2 Amaya Arzuaga

Put a twinkle in his eye and wear Amaya Arzuaga's black net, cap-sleeve dress with an unusual red spaghetti sequin detail. How much: pounds 180. Stockists: by Amaya Arzuaga at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1 (enq: 0171-935 9393).

3 TopShop

TopShop's white iridescent sequin dress would look great with a tan - but is really one only for the very brave. How much: pounds 40. Stockists: TopShop, Oxford Circus, London W1 (enq: 0171-636 7700).

4 Karen Millen

An aubergine bugle-beaded multi-strap dress from Karen Millen, with a clingy but flattering Lycra underslip. How much: pounds 110. Stockists: Karen Millen, 22-23 James Street, London WC2 (enq: 01622 664032).

5 Warehouse

Teamed with a pair of black kitten heels and a chignon, this black fitted shift dress, entirely covered in sequins, will look sensational. How much: pounds 50.

Stockists: Warehouse, 19-21 Argyll Street,

London W1 (enq: 0800 915 9902).

6 Nicole Farhi

Black plunge-neck evening dress with pink gem detail; very Bianca Jagger in its subtle sexiness. How much: pounds 499.

Stockists: Nicole Farhi, 158 New Bond Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-499 8368).

7 Helen David at English Eccentrics

Petrol-grey, beaded strapless evening gown, with built-in bustier for extra va-va-voom... How much: pounds 775.

Stockists: by Helen David at English Eccentrics

(enq: 0171-284 2525).

8 LK Bennett

A gold, low-cut, sequinned party dress that will definitely get you noticed. Just remember to avoid too much make-up - unless you want to look like a Disco Doll, of course.

How much: pounds 499.

Stockists: LK Bennett (enq: 0171-491 3005).

9 Ainhoa Alvarez

A tangerine and emerald-green mermaid dress by Alvarez, who recently won the coveted Salon Selectives award for Design, and is definitely a name to look out for. Put your orders in now. How much: to order. Stockists: by Ainhoa Alvarez (enq: 07971 828020).

10 Ben de Lisi

Black, jet-beaded, half-sleeve evening dress, suitable for an elegant and sophisticated occasion with elegant and sophisticated people. How much: pounds 1,100. Stockists: Ben de Lisi, 40 Elizabeth St, SW1 (enq: 0171-730 2994).

11 Preen

Camel tweed and yellow brocade bodice-back dress. The modern print adds a millennial twist to rather medieval silhouette. How much: pounds 450 to order. Stockists: Preen, 5 Portobello Green, London W10 (enq: 0181-968 1542).

12 Fake at Browns

A juxtaposition of fabrics - chocolate-brown wool and PVC - gives this long-sleeved stretch dress a quirky edge. How much: around pounds 390. Stockists: by Fake at Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-514 0047).

13 H&M

A long, asymmetric, double-layered gown in cream velvet, perfect for floating around a castle or stately home. Even if your domicile is a little less highbrow, you should still be able to afford this. How much: pounds 54.99.

Stockists: H&M, 261-271 Regent Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-495 4003).

14 Owen Gaster

Though possibly the most beautiful dress on the list, Owen Gaster's black chiffon multi-pleat gown is also the trickiest to wear, as it is more a sculpture than a piece of clothing. How much: pounds 715.

Stockists: by Owen Gaster at Selfridges, Oxford St, W1 (enq: 0171-629 1234 ext 3881).

15 New Look

Black and red, double-layered, handkerchief-hem slip dress: subtly sexy and a snip at the price. How much: pounds 24.99. Stockists: New Look (enq: 0500 454094).

16 Amaya Arzuaga

A cream net, double-layered, strapless Lycra dress with a midnight-blue spaghetti sequin detail: a totally modern contrast of fabrics and textures. How much: pounds 180.

Stockists: by Amaya Arzuaga at Harrods, Knightsbridge, SW1 (enq: 0171- 935 9393).

17 Jean-Claude Jitrois

A sleeveless, black leather and Lycra polo-neck bell dress; heavy, so might stop you dancing all night. How much: pounds 2,350.

Stockists: Jean-Claude Jitrois, 6f Sloane Street, London SW1 (enq: 0171- 245 6300).

18 Meg Andrews at Whistles

Meg Andrews' entire collection has a strong modern theme, and this red cotton, high-collared dress shows that she has what it takes to shine in the new millennium. How much: pounds 98.

Stockists: by Meg Andrews at Whistles, 12 St Christophers Place, London W1 (enq: 0171-253 2529).

19 Karen Millen

Black and red geometric sequin-embroidered slip dress. These sequins subtly catch the light rather than reflect it, as they have been sewn on in reverse. How much: pounds 120.

Stockists: Karen Millen, 22-23 James Street, WC2 (enq: 01622 664032).

20 Press & Bastyan

For a truly modern approach to dressing, opt for Press & Bastyan's raspberry paisley slip dress with shoulder detail and satin underslip: for extra value for money, use the underslip as another dress. How much: pounds 95. Stockists: Press & Bastyan, 17 Neal Street, London WC2 (enq: 01622 763211). 21 Donna Karan

A ruby-red velvet sleeveless slash-neck dress: total luxury at an accessible price. How much: from pounds 400. Stockists: Donna Karan, 19 New Bond Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-495 3100).

22 Maria Grachvogel

A conservative, classic design, this champagne satin bias-cut evening gown is ideal for a chic soiree. How much: pounds 980. Stockists: by Maria Grachvogel from a selection at Liberty, 214 Regent Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-734 1234).

23 John Rocha

Truly a showpiece, with its intricate folding and shaping, this Mediterranean- blue velvet, bias-cut, ruched-hem dress is a real investment. How much: pounds 390.

Stockists: John Rocha, 60f Sloane Avenue, London SW3 (enq: 0171-838 0017).

24 Warehouse

If you're on a budget but don't want anyone to know, Warehouse's split- front shoulder-detail dress in a stunning cerise satin is the ideal solution. How much: pounds 60.

Stockists: Warehouse, 19-21 Argyll Street, London W1 (enq: 0800 915 9902).

25 Press & Bastyan

Storm-grey, empire-line, lace-trimmed dress with a black sequin embroidery detail. The silhouette and lace make the dress look vintage ... but without the moth holes. How much: pounds 150.

Stockists: Press & Bastyan, 17 Neal Street, London WC2 (enq: 01622 763211).

26 George at Asda

A leopard-print chiffon dress with reversible red lining: perfect if you are going to more than one bash on New Year's Eve and want two different looks for the price of one. How much: pounds 29.99.

Stockists: by George at Asda stores (enq: 0500 100055).

27 French Connection

This scarlet satin, fitted shift dress is chic, classy and beautifully cut - very Audrey Hepburn, in fact. How much: pounds 85.

Stockists: French Connection, 249 Regent Street, London W1 (enq: 0171- 399 7200).

28 Anne Storey

A simple shape, but the velvet fabric of this petrol-green, bias-cut, crossover-bust dress makes it excessively glamorous. How much: pounds 229. Stockists: by Anne Storey at Fenwicks, New Bond Street, W1 (enq: 0171-460 1268).

29 Miss Selfridge

Pink and black. double-layered, embroidered evening dress, perfect for New Year's Eve beach parties in balmy climes. How much: pounds 35. Stockists: Miss Selfridge (enq: 0800 915 9900).

30 George at Asda

Indisputedly chic and glamorous, a champagne silk, bias-cut, floor-length evening gown with a ruched bust. Probably the best value of all the dresses on the list. How much: pounds 34.99.

Stockists: by George at Asda (enq: 0500 100055).

31 Karen Millen

Tactile types should opt for Karen Millen's cream and gold embroidered dress with sensual feather trim. How much: around pounds 120. Stockists: Karen Millen, 22-23 James Street, London WC2 (enq: 01622 664032).

32 Amanda Wakeley

Simple but luxurious, this grape, beaded chiffon bias-cut evening dress is worth investing in. How much: pounds 1,177.

Stockists: Amanda Wakeley, 80 Fulham Road, London SW3 (enq: 0171-590 9105).

33 Bellville Sassoon Lorcan Mullany

A metallic beaded and embroidered gown, which is beautifully fitted and finished, and particularly flattering. How much: pounds 859.

Stockists: Bellville Sassoon Lorcan Mullany, 18 Culford Gardens, London SW3 (enq: 0171-581 3500).

34 Salvatore Ferragamo

If you don't want to reveal too much flesh, Ferragamo's black knit long- sleeved dress with silver embroidered cuffs is ideal. How much: pounds 655.

Stockists: Salvatore Ferragamo, 24 Old Bond Street, London W1 (enq: 0171- 629 5007).

35 Whistles

My personal favourite is this long, fuschia chiffon "twinkle" dress - guaranteed to make you feel like a star. How much: pounds 220.

Stockists: Whistles, 12 St Christophers Place, London W1 (enq: 0171-487 4484).

36 Diva

Shimmy all night long in Diva's black and silver Lurex, fringed-hem dress, which stretches in all the right places. How much: pounds 55.

Stockists: Diva (enq: 0171-323 4535).

37 Brach & Brach

Take centre stage in this white satin, high-collared sleeveless dress with black foliage embroidery. How much: pounds 470.

Stockists: Brach & Brach (enq: 01273 692017).

38 Helen David for English Eccentrics

This black floral-embroidered double-layered slip dress manages to be feminine without being too girly. How much: pounds 375.

Stockists: by Helen David for English Eccentrics (enq: 0171-284 2525).

39 Episode

Wear Episode's claret crushed-velvet slip dress with an embroidered bust detail and bring an air of opulence to your evening. How much: pounds 179.

Stockists: Episode, 172 Regent Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-589 4279). 40 George at Asda

You perhaps wouldn't expect a supermarket chain to be such a successful source of glamorous evening wear, but this is the George label's third showing on the list. And you certainly can't argue with the value: a sky- blue, two-tone organza shift dress with rose embroidery for less than pounds 30.

How much: pounds 29.99.

Stockists: by George at Asda stores ( enq: 0500 100055).

41 Oasis

A silver, fitted slip dress with the added detail of transparent straps; the fabric looks like it has come straight out of NASA's research labs. How much: pounds 60.

Stockists: Oasis (enq: 01865 881986).

42 Gharani Strok at Matches

Gharani Strok's raspberry and silver taffeta two-tone shift, with a frayed hem and empire-line bust detail, has an iridescent sheen which should glimmer seductively in low lighting. How much: around pounds 215. Stockists: Gharani Strok at Matches, 13 Hill Street, Richmond, Surrey (enq: 0171-727 0007).

43 Kookai

The creased hem effect won't wash out of Kookai's black stretch Lycra dress with crinkle insert. How much: pounds 75.

Stockists: Kookai (enq: 0171-937 4411).

44 Thierry Mugler Couture

Typical Mugler, in that it is guaranteed to make you the centre of attention. A silver, crystal-beaded fish-tail dress which is very heavy, very flamboyant - and very Ivana Trump, darling. How much: to order.

Stockists: Thierry Mugler Couture, 134 New Bond Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-629 7020).

45 Warehouse

The gem detail on this pink cotton slip dress has an intergalactic theme which is perfect for the millennium. How much: pounds 45.

Stockists: Warehouse, 19-21 Argyll Street, London W1 (enq: 0800 915 9902).

46 H&M

Strike a futuristic silhouette in H&M's black satin, gathered-hem dress, at a fantastically reasonable price. How much: pounds 44.99.

Stockists: H&M, 261-271 Regent Street, London W1 (enq: 0171-323 2211).

47 Red or Dead

In a lightweight but warm fabric, this grey, double-layered drawstring dress with a gold sequin detail would be ideal for an outdoor party. How much: pounds 89.

Stockists: Red or Dead (enq: 0114-273 7827).

48 Patrick Cox

Patrick Cox's white satin bustier dress is alive with intergalactic references: a silver strobe sequin detail, and host of star-like mini sequins. How much: pounds 400.

Stockists: Patrick Cox, 129 Sloane Street, SW1 (enq: 0171-730 8886).

49 TopShop

Trekkies will find this blue Dr-Spock's-ear-sleeved dress the perfect little number in which to greet the year 2000. How much: pounds 30.

Stockists: TopShop, Oxford Circus, London W1 (enq: 0171-636 7700).

50 Miss Selfridge

This black, stretch, ruched-bust dress has multicoloured "cosmic" threading that changes colour in the light. How much: pounds 35. Stockists: Miss Selfridge (enq: 0800 915 9900).

Note: all details were correct at time of going to press, but readers should phone ahead to check prices and availability before setting out

NEXT WEEK: CHRISTMAS FOOD - THE 50 BEST MAIL-ORDER SPECIALISTS

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