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As the invites start arriving for the social season, dressing up is top of the agenda. The Style Report investigates.

This article was originally published on MATCHESFASHION.COM.

Maximalists, rejoice. This season, you’ll play dress up in foiled cocktail dresses, one-shouldered satin blouses and velvet suits as cocktail dressing makes a glittering, paillette-loaded return – just in time for the social season.


High-octane glamour is synonymous with the 1980s – the point of reference at Saint Laurent and Erdem, where power shoulders and sweetheart necklines celebrate the unabashedly bold decade – so consider this your new dress code. Make a dramatic impression in Saint Laurent’s electric-blue top, to which a high-shine mini skirt and pointed pumps make perfect partners; or a classic LBD, reworked this season in midnight velvet. Dress down the opulent fabric as seen at Preen By Thornton Bregazzi – with biker boots and bed hair – or follow Erdem’s ladylike styling, with red lips and metallic mules.

At Balmain, power-party dressing is par for the course. The house’s signature mini dresses come crafted from knitted satin and paired with matching cardigans and over-the-knee boots. Opulent fabrics abound in the form of velvet, lace, lamé and lurex – corseted, boned and laced to accentuate an hourglass figure. Glamorous needn’t mean fussy; Balmain’s striped lurex dress teams effortlessly with pointed boots.


A note on the cocktail dress – it’s back in shimmering lamé (Zandra Rhodes Archive), bow-laden plissé (Roksanda) and embroidered silk (Hillier Bartley). These party pieces need little adornment, but new-season maximalists know that more is more, loading up on shine with a glittering parure of choker and earrings.


When the muse resembles a Helmut Newton heroine, Le Smoking tuxedo suit is obligatory. Gucci’s sequin-sprayed tux calls for handfuls of precious jewels and high-shine sandals, while Haider Ackermann’s decadent velvet suit looks best when worn alone – bar an irreverent attitude. Speaking of plunging necklines, Raey’s diaphanous, sweeping jumpsuit offers a contemporary take on nostalgic party dressing.

Late nights call for stellar accessories. Saint Laurent’s constellation motif manifests in a star-adorned bag while sequined slippers twinkle beneath a floor-grazing maxi dress. Happily, the 1980s redux includes supersized earrings, too – Anissa Kermiche and Charlotte Chesnais’s sculptural styles will gild partywear perfectly.

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