• potential it affords for multiple wear-age is absolutely indispensable. But can you imagine Cinderella wearing black to the ball? It's only the baddies who ever don black. We may quite like playing the baddie sometimes and color may not always be deemed cool, but it does shout confidence, and confidence, ladies, is what this is all about.

    So then, it is time to step out of our comfort zone and embrace the one-color gown – color being the key word here. This is about making an impact when you walk into the room. It's hard, I know, to imagine oneself as a Hollywood Star when one probably isn't, but think of it like this: when you throw an important party, don't you love it when your female guests go a little over the top? Aren't you annoyed with the friend who came straight from the office and made no effort at all?

    Take the Oscars this spring; in that sea of virginal white and safe-as-anything putty, bold hues were the ones that stood out: think

    Reese Witherspoon in cobalt Louis Vuitton; Jane Fonda in yellow Versace; Jennifer Aniston and Hilary Swank in cherry-red Valentino. But then when you cast your mind back over the Oscar dresses that stand the test of time, they are never black, are they? Case in point: are you old enough to remember the marvelous red Halston dress Minnie Driver wore when she was nominated in 1997 for Best Supporting Role in Good Will Hunting? It was the perfect ‘screw you’ dress to publicly face her ex, Matt Damon, who was there with his new squeeze, Winona Ryder.

    If you are catching my drift, there are plenty of designers out there who want you to be, as it were, the belle of the ball. Roksanda Ilincic, for one, who pretty much built her

    “With color, a designer who cuts to FLATTER is key: you want to STAND out, but only in the RIGHT places”

    business around out-of-the-park, jewel-toned eveningwear. Ditto Lanvin's Alber Elbaz, who cuts his pieces so caressingly, it is easy for us scaredy cats to handle his love for colors, such as sapphire and tourmaline pink. When it comes to color, a designer who cuts to flatter is key. You want to stand out, yes, but only in the right places. If you have a reasonable waist, try Stella McCartney's stretch-crepe and organza racer-back dress in electric blue, the one Anja Rubik wore on the SS13 runway. Or check out Roland Mouret's full-length 'Lunenburg', also in cobalt blue (a great shade with a tan). It's funny: one always assumes with color one's bulges will show up more than they would in dependable old black. But trust me, it is McCartney and Mouret's mission – their absolute passion, actually – to keep you pulled in where it counts.

    Ready to embrace your inner movie star, then? Well, here goes. To all you LBDs out there: we love you dearly and always will but, on the red carpet, please stay well behind the velvet rope.”

    how to do

    A STATEMENT GOWN

    One-piece dressing with metallic
    accents for evening glamor

    THE DRESS
    Banish the black and experiment with a bold color-block gown.

    THE CLUTCH
    Embellishment adds interest to this evening staple.

    THE HEELS
    A timeless gold sandal will anchor the look.

    The Edit
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