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    SUMMER black

    Experiment with textures to keep

    black light and playful

    THE TROPHY NECKLACE
    Add dark romance to pared-back pieces.

    THE SHEER DRESS
    Delicate yet modern, pair it with '50s-style lingerie or a slip.

    THE EVENING SANDALS
    Elegant black suede heels are a stylish accent for every outfit.

    Black does not mean you are wimping out. It does not mean you haven't got the wherewithal to buy a summer wardrobe. But I suspect I am preaching to the converted.

    So then, Hallelujah, we have been vindicated this season. Summer Black, if the spring/summer collections are anything to go by, is very much The Thing. From Saint Laurent to Céline, even to Dolce & Gabbana with all that riotous ‘Taormina’ print, there’s a treasure trove of black out there to choose from. Some of my personal favorites? For a start, the black raffia sun dress from Dolce & Gabbana, shown to such effect with flats, ‘souvenir’ scarf and crazy orange chandelier earrings. Then there’s Stella McCartney’s demure, strapless A-line dress in black ‘cutwork embroidery’, see-through from the mid-thigh down. Or maybe the camisole-like maxi sundress by Victoria Beckham, nipped neatly in at the waist with a leather belt.

    Black, you see, allows such leeway: it watches your back in a

    way that bright colors and pale hues don't. With black, bless it, you don't have to take off that last piece of jewelry; you don't have to take it so easy on the hair and makeup front; you never have to worry too much about working it too hard. Why, if you're that sort of person (and one day maybe I will be), you could even add a hat. Oh my, those cute little black fedoras from Victoria Beckham, those marvelous witchy ones from Saint Laurent… Actually, I just might.

    But if the idea of Nothing But Black feels a little funereal, by all means mix it up a little. Like the way Roland Mouret did with blocks of sapphire or emerald, or how Isabel Marant used it as a canvas for her graphic, somewhat Little Shop Of Horrors-like floral print. Or

    “Never underestimate the DRAMATIC allure, the clever perversity of NOIR, when the sun is SHINING outside”

    how about the way L’Wren Scott stops it short of becoming too vampy with a prim white collar.

    My advice? Never underestimate the dramatic allure, the clever perversity of noir, when the sun is shining outside. Especially when it’s overlaid with ‘pretty’ or ‘sweet’. I’m thinking here of Etro’s multicolored-flower strewn take on black, which created the effect of painted velvet. I’m thinking, too, of the wonderfully costume-y, black resin flower necklace Oscar de la Renta included in his current accessory collection. It’s just the sort of thing I imagine a ‘heroine’ from one of Roald Dahl’s adult fairytales would wear.

    Here’s the great thing about black. It is what it is and you can do with it what you want. Meanwhile, as the weather slowly gets warmer, I’m having a little reverie about the combination of black broderie anglaise against conker-colored shoulders, peroxide-blonde hair against washed ebony silk, tar-black toenail polish and… Lilly Pulitzer. Black! I could be married to you! Long may you last.”

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