As 2014 hurtles towards us, planning a New Year’s Eve ensemble raises some pressing questions: is a tinsel tiara tacky? Is Lurex lame? Should red and green really be seen on anyone other than an elf?
Slap-bang in the throes of the season of excess, the temptation to choose something too tight, too short and too sparkly is entirely understandable. But, honestly, not acceptable. The party season is drawing to a close, and we should learn from our fashion mistakes, rather than breaking resolutions before we’ve even made them.
To see in 2014, there’s no lead better to follow than that of Miuccia Prada. She brought subtly sexy back in her autumn/winter collection, championing the off-the-shoulder dress for day and night, with every other style tugged skew-whiff.
Jonathan Saunders was also a cheerleader for the dressy déshabillé style. His daring satin designs sat low on the chest to expose built-in bras, while at Céline, Phoebe Philo showed bodices with bands of fabric hugging the shoulders and rising up to the neck.
Dame Vivienne Westwood is the doyenne of the slipped shoulder strap: for proof, check out Dita Von Teese’s shot-violet taffeta wedding dress, that goes on display in spring at the V&A Museum.
It’s easy to see what drew designers back to this neckline. It’s classic Hollywood starlet, stylish, flattering, and sexy without being risqué. When faced with a choice between neo-Nineties juvenilia and sophisticated sexpot glamour, the latter is the one to plump for – it won’t look dated, or misjudged. So long as you leave that tinsel tiara at home.