Party invitations on blank paper

Head for your local stationer's and you'll have your evening wear all w rapped up, suggests Marion Hume
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Indy Lifestyle Online
The white gowns featured here are British designers' solution to that conundrum peculiar to the festive season: what to wear when you want to look fabulous in something sparkling new for New Year's Eve, but find the idea of joining the hordes of s hoppers terrifying.

The solution is this. You stay close to home, venturing no farther than your nearest stationer's or haberdasher's. You buy paper.

Pattern paper, tracing paper, brown paper - all will do. The best, if you can get it, is filamented white paper (the sheeny, glossy kind). You buy in bulk, you staple, you Sellotape, you swag. You get a friend to help you, Blue Peter-style. The result isa fabulous, cheap, dramatic gown. The disadvantages are obvious (if it gets wet, it disintegrates). But it shouldn't fall apart until after you've made quite an entrance.

The disadvantages for the models here are more severe. There they are, on a December night, balancing on the rubble of a spooky folly in the Vale of Aylesbury, wearing little more than you would send your Christmas cards in. Perhaps the team on the Lapland fashion shoot in that instant fashion classic programme Absolutely Marie Claire didn't have it so bad ... Some of the dresses here only just lasted the shoot's strong night winds. Others are much more rigorous. The glorious Dior New Look-inspired

dress by Mark Langston (whose speciality is shop-window drama) would not stand a walk in the rain. But the jacket by Hussein Chalayan, one of Britain's most promising young designers, should. Chalayan even makes paper shoes, which one fashion editor wore throughout New York fashion-show week without them showing signs of wear, much less falling apart.

We'll be seeing more of paper as a fashion "fabric" in 1995. Donna Karan, the big- league American designer, is using paper for spring/summer 1995 prom dresses. Not in the business of making clothes only for catwalk sensation, Karan's versions are certainly meant to be worn.

Helen Storey and Alison Lloyd of Ally Capellino, British designers both, began experimenting with paper and disposable, affordable clothes a few seasons ago. For Flyte Ostell and Lo and Cabon, our Christmas challenge meant the designer duos made their first trips to the stationery shop in search of the wherewithal to make clothes.

What we predict for 1995 is more experimentation, although we hope nothing bears any resemblance to those J Cloth dresses once hailed as the future of disposable clothes.