Wed Nov 20, 2019 London
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OPULENCE & SPLENDOUR

Luxury and the arts From houses to cars and from Hockney to van Dyck, a profile of the best and the worst

Seeing RED

Our new columnist Jacinta de Vere analyses fashion’s most dangerous colour

 

I really enjoy seeing people take various pieces that you would think would look hideous on their own and combine them to make a fantastic look. Alternatively, there are people who take one piece and manage to look like a hot mess.

 

Jacinta de Vere suggests that opting for a red outfit can result in you either looking like a “vision in…” or “getting it all wrong.” There’s no middle ground.

When I choose an ensemble, I think to myself: “Keep it simple and edit.” I am not sure what I loathe more, a slovenly attired woman or a woman who manages to miswear a fabulous designer. One does not need to wear a well-known label to look good. One just needs to edit and to think about what is flattering for one’s body and proportions. Colours are very important when selecting a piece to buy or to pull out of your closet. If you go too soft, you get drowned out by the shade and if you go too bold, you become an easy eyesore.

 

As any respectable person who loves fashion will tell you, the colour red tends to be more associated with your bank balance at the end of the month after a Harrods shopping spree rather than the “it” colour of your wardrobe. Red is one of the colours that some people tend to get all wrong. Selecting the right shade of red for your skin tone can really lift and brighten you. Selecting the wrong shade of red for your skin tone can make you resemble a flashing street light and overwhelm you. Additionally, if you choose a busy red dress in the wrong shade, you may find yourself with an imaginary bowl of fruit on your head, holding maracas.

 

Recently while dining with friends, a woman dressed in a red feathered and lace ensemble walked by our table. This hideous dress made her look like a bright red “Big Bird.” I spotted the back of Big Bird and much to my horror, she had also decided to wear her favorite red bra. I would have chosen a nude strapless Le Mystere bustier bra. I am not sure what “look” this woman was attempting to achieve, aside from resembling “Cha-cha” in Grease, but I think everyone should try to keep it simple when wearing red. If I were her, I would get new friends because letting her leave the house in that ensemble was a crime to any friendship. Either pick lace or pick the feathers but to wear both together is a fashion disaster on any continent.

 

Marchesa versus Jane Norman

 

Marchesa has a lace and tulle cocktail dress at £5,700 (http://www.netaporter.com) that is sexy, stylish and just the right kind of busy. If you’re on a recession budget, then have a look at Jane Norman’s lace dress at £35 (http://www.houseoffraser.com). You want the attention on you because of your fabulous lace dress, not because of your poor choice of red.

 

Elie Saab versus Jessica Howard

Another woman was wearing a red Lanvin, floor length chiffon Grecian style gown. She was blond with an uneven skin tone, so the red gown with all the chiffon layers overpowered her. The fact she skipped putting on a bra did not help her case. I was confounded, wondering if her chest sagged due to the lack of support or if she failed to tailor the layers of chiffon draping the dress. It pained me to see this lovely dress make this woman look terrible. If we are insecure about our bodies and would like to hide our imperfections, we should find a way to emphasize the positive assets whilst camouflaging the bits you do not like. Buying designer does not guarantee you are going to look amazing. The dress may be amazing but you can still get it wrong if the dress overwhelms you. You want to wear the dress not the opposite. I think if our pot-bellied, saggy chested friend had chosen Elie Saab’s gathered front gown at £3,065 (http://www.netaporter.com) or, if on budget, Jessica Howard’s one shouldered beaded waist gown at £80 (http://www.houseoffraser.com), she would have looked like a million bucks.

 

Spanx, Le Mystère and Bring It Up

One can hide unsightly bits and pieces in an outfit without getting lost in yards of chiffon. Just because you’re wearing Lanvin, Valentino, Erdem or Chanel, it does not mean it will look good on you. Buy for the cut and fit and not the label. For these unfortunate situations, I turn to Spanx Slimplicity Convertible Full Slip at £79 (http://www.spanx.co.uk) and to Le Mystère sculptural strapless bra Style 2755 at £56 (http://www.lemystere.com). These are my lifesavers when I am wearing borrowed, tighter fitting or strapless outfits. Lastly, if my chest needs a temporary lift, I rely on Bring It Up Instant Breast Lifts, 8 pairs/pack at $20 (http://www.bringitup.com).

 

Jacinta de Vere is a lover of haute couture and all things fashionable and decadent. She is based in London.

 

Follow her on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/jacintadevere

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