Float like a butterfly; STYLE POLICE

The Queen a leader of fashion? I'm not joking, says JAMES SHERWOOD - no one wears a chiffon confection better than HRH
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Style Police learned a lot from last weekend's royal wedding. Loved the evening wear and no-hat dress code. But you can't wear big jewellery before 6pm. We mean you, Princess Pushy of Kent: flashing what looked like the coral reef rendered in precious stones around your thorax. We loved the feathers in hair but only on gals who can carry it off. Princess Anne looked like the captain of the Gordonstoun synchronised swimming team: too hearty for hair ornaments. And as for the Sultan of Brunei's favourite wife! She marched up the aisle at Windsor eliciting more screams than the bride of Chucky in all those vulgar diamonds and sequins.

The Queen, by contrast, looked fabulous. From the powdery violet feathered tiara to the tips of her custom-made purple satin court shoes, the lady looked divine. Even the purple chiffon stole left It girls and actresses in the congregation looking hopelessly inappropriate. So bravo Jon Moore at Hardy Amies - have a Style Police gold star. HRH, you work it girl.

There's nothing wrong with sequin frocks at high noon in pretty pastel colours. Wear more feathers than a topless dancer at the Follies Bergeres for all we care. But you've got to go all the way. Take note, blonde girl walking into Vogue House last Tuesday. You can't be half-arsed with the evening wear in daylight look. Don't accessorise basic black pants and top with a neon pink stole, marabou pom-pom in your hair and pink satin dolly bag. You looked as if a blind window dresser had committed GBH with accessories.

Let's bury a fashion myth once and for all. There's no way you're going to do this season's colour, glitter and girly early evening wear look with a couple of accessories and a seasonally challenged black two-piece suit. If you're in the mood for a bit of chiffon and diamante embroidery, you don't go to first base with a fuchshia pink feathered scrunchy in your barnet. Hit a home run with a killer frock and all the trimmings.

How to wear it

This look is not for tripping down to Tesco Metro. Unless you're a Portobello Princess, early evening wear is restricted to weddings, shooshy lunches and cocktail parties. Don't grumble if you don't get invited to this kind of do - you should get out more. Buy the frock and the invitations will come pouring in. And we're not talking taffeta meringue dresses. We're in the realms of embroidered slip dresses and mouthwateringly pretty tea gowns. It's not Oscar premiere dressing so don't go with the Liz Hurley knock-out frocks. Read The Great Gatsby and imagine what Daisy would wear to a Jay Gatsby soiree. Or just turn back a page and look at Real Life's fashion this week - you'll get the idea. Clash pretty colours by all means but we don't want to see a shred of black or navy anywhere near you.

Where to buy it

Mondi has metamorphosed from a caterpillar label to this season's sexiest butterfly. Its chiffon confections start at pounds 250, creep up to pounds 469 for the embroidered Ideal Husband bodices and peak at pounds 855 for diamond-spattered double layered pink chiffon.

Monsoon has made the prettiest pink silk georgette dress covered with bugle beads for pounds 160 which would look delectable with a clash crop cardi from the Scotch House. For spring/summer '99 Donna Karan came up with what she called "barefoot ball gowns" in vibrant silk. Zara has streamlined the barefoot ball gown and made it in pretty pale yellow. If you're not bothered about beads, then have a crack at traditionally nocturnal fabrics such as the hot pink crepe georgette, made into a sheath dress by Oasis for pounds 54.99. If in doubt, think HRH QEII. It's not the first time Style Police has praised a Queen's influence on fashion. But when we're pondering pretty early evening wear, HM wipes the floor with them all.

Address book

Mondi: 0171 408 0136.

Monsoon: 0171 313 3000.

Oasis: 01865 881986.

The Scotch House: 0171 734 0203.

Zara: 0171 534 9500.

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