Pearls and jet a cool way to add some tasteful glitz

November 12, 1992|By Barbara DeWitt | Barbara DeWitt,Los Angeles Daily News

Were did the glitz go?

After a decade that glorified all things gaudy, including fur coats, colored rhinestone-and-feather-trimmed sweaters and garish combos of fuchsia and chartreuse, we're back to quiet glamour for the holidays.

This year, designers and retailers are seeing red (any shade will do) as the alternative to basic black, and fashion mavens are buzzing about long, sensuous evening gowns that smolder with class and caress curves.

You know the type. Languid lux looks worn by the likes of Veronica Lake and Carole Lombard back in Hollywood's heyday.

"The little black dress has taken a rest," explained Ginny Sydorick, fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue stores, "and the dress of the moment is the column. It's a long and lean dress with deep slits in the front, back or side, and sometimes accented with slender strap detailing across a bare back."

And it's often in matte jersey. But few have the figure for them, so designers have dished up some festive options: organza blouses with billowy taffeta skirts to tuxedos-turned-sultry, a la Marlene Dietrich.

"Evening separates also are an important trend because few people have the money to spend that they did (in the '80s)," Sydorick continued, "so they're updating their holiday clothes by adding a sheer blouse or skirt."

Gregg Andrews, assistant fashion coordinator for Nordstrom stores,agrees, and thinks the new feminine twist on the classic tuxedo makes it the perfect vehicle to stretch a wardrobe.

While Ms. Sydorick talks about optional details such as wide satin lapels or a shawl collar, and layering the look with a blouse and vest, Mr. Andrews likes to pair the tuxedo jacket with a slim skirt, either long or hemmed at the knee. Or combine satin-striped tuxedo trousers with a bronze organza blouse or sweater twinset with rhinestone buttons.

Understated designs, noted for a lack of frou-frou, allow for a lot of accessorizing, according to Jane Harmon, accessory specialist for Bullock's/Macy's stores. "It's a dandy mood for the holidays," Ms. Harmon said, "and with the tuxedo look there are numerous opportunities to add feminine touches, such as a rhinestone-accented bow-tie, velvet-trimmed vest, decorative cuff links, pearl choker or pearl-trimmed watch fob."

For other ensembles, especially those long, sleek dresses, she suggested wearing a black satin ribbon around the neck with a brooch pinned at the center. "Old estate styles are very current right now, especially Maltese crosses, birds, animals and insects. If you've got a short neck, pass on the choker, or dog collar, and opt for numerous long strands of pearls or jet.

"Jet is the number one bead for the holidays because it has such a rich appearance and lends itself to a lot of looks, especially the old Hollywood glamour style. To be up to the minute, wear some jet earrings in a chandelier style that end at the jaw line," she suggested.

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