The secret of taking the night by storm is to give yourself a whole new look. In this decade of easy dressing, it is refreshing to have a bit of a challenge. The whole point of dressing up for a party - and the ultimate excuse is surely New Year's Eve - is to make yourself look radically different than you do normally by day. And for most of us, that means getting out of those comfy knits and easy trousers and into something that, well, hurts a little. The shoes are not right if they don't pinch or tilt your foot at an unnatural angle. By the end of the night, you'll be grateful New Year's Eve falls but once a year. Those earrings will be just a little too heavy for your delicate lobes; you'll be sick to death of hoiking that fine spaghetti strap back on to your shoulder every five seconds, and the peacock feather you thought looked so louche and bohemian will be driving you to distraction. But you look fabulous, so the pain and discomfort is worth it. Almost.
Our intrepid party girl in these pictures has gone for some Seventies disco gloss, the sort of thing that would not have looked out of place on the dance floor of Studio 54 on Bianca Jagger or Marie Helvin. Appropriately enough, there is a bat wing, one-sleeve mesh dress by the label launched by the king of the Seventies New York nightclub scene, Halston. These days, the label has been revived, along with the designer's style, under the creative eye of Randolph Duke.
If you want to attract dance-floor laser beams and attention, a bit of slinky liquid silver always does the trick. The chain-mail number overleaf is by Stella McCartney. If you can get hold of one of these in the sale, buy it. As well as transforming you into a party animal (and Stella McCartney knows how to party), it will be something of a collector's item: now that she has signed up to the house of Chloe, it is one of the last dresses to bear the designer's name. And if your bank account is feeling as jaded as you are, resort to wearing last year's dress with the addition of a few feathers. Nobody will recognise it and they will tickle your nose all night. Just remember: no pain, no gain.
Flesh-coloured dress with sparkles, pounds 450, by Ghost, 14 Hinde Street, London W1, 36 Ledbury Road, London W11; ostrich-feather hair-stick, pounds 12.95, peacock-feather hair- stick worn as brooch pounds 12.95, both by Johnnie Loves Rosie, available from Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street, London W1, enquiries 0171-247 1496.
Left Liquid silver chain-mail dress, pounds 850, by Stella McCartney, available from Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London W1, Tokio, 309 Brompton Road, London SW3.
Right Black beaded one-shoulder dress with bat wing mesh sleeve, pounds 1,700, by Halston, available from Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1; gold snake necklace, pounds 4,525, from Tiffany, 25 Old Bond Street, London W1
Hair Earl Simms at Debbie Walters
Make-up Christopher Ardoff at Public
Stylist's assistant Holly Davies
Retouching Gareth at 1st Base, 0171-307 5313Reuse content