Would you wear a cock­tail dress to a black-tie event?

Hong Kong Tatler - - The Great De­bate -

Long gone are the days when to be fash­ion­able meant you had to fol­low the herd. The term black tie was coined in a con­ser­va­tive era when ex­pres­sion through dress was strongly dic­tated by rigid rules and ex­pec­ta­tions. That’s so 19th cen­tury. To­day, with the evo­lu­tion of so­ci­ety, the way you dress has be­come a strong form of self­ex­pres­sion, par­tic­u­larly for women.

Yes, black tie cer­tainly de­notes an oc­ca­sion is for­mal and that a high de­gree of re­spect is due to the event and its host. But true glam­our, which af­ter all is what black tie is about, is no longer the sole do­main of long gowns. It’s about hav­ing con­fi­dence in your dress sense while pay­ing due re­spect to the for­mal­ity of the oc­ca­sion. A chic short lace cock­tail dress worn with stun­ning di­a­monds, great legs and a 100W smile pays your host re­spect with­out com­pro­mis­ing your in­di­vid­ual style.

Long or short, cock­tail or sari, if you dress with class and con­fi­dence, you will be true to your­self and your host­—and that’s what modern-day fash­ion is all about. The per­fect black-tie event can eas­ily and re­spect­fully be rocked in the ul­ti­mate cock­tail dress. TA­NIA MO­HAN IS THE OWNER OF IN­DIA-IN­SPIRED CLOTH­ING AND AC­CES­SORIES BRAND TABLA Just be­cause your Zuhair Mu­rad cock­tail dress cost HK$888,888 doesn’t make it ac­cept­able black-tie at­tire, nor does the HK$120,000 price tag for your lim­ited-edi­tion jeans al­low you to get away with, “Yes, I know they’re denim, but they cost…” All too of­ten guests for­get what is ap­pro­pri­ate for a black­tie event and con­cen­trate on the price of a gar­ment or the wow fac­tor.

I’m not sure ex­actly when “black tie/ for­mal” be­came “cock­tail/no tie”, but when at­tend­ing grand events where so­ci­ety, cul­ture and per­for­mance are at play, full-length gowns and black tie are de rigueur; it’s an im­por­tant tradition to show re­spect to the host as well as your­self. Sea­soned so­ci­ety guests think about the pur­pose of the event, the en­vi­ron­ment and the dress code and out­fit them­selves ap­pro­pri­ately. Fur­ther­more, it’s from these glam­orous black-tie af­fairs that fash­ion takes its cues.

We must reignite glam­our and for­mal­ity in so­ci­ety when the host calls for it. If they wanted cock­tail dresses rather than for­mal gowns, they would have spec­i­fied that on the in­vi­ta­tion. I hope to see ev­ery­one dressed to the nines at the next black-tie ex­trav­a­ganza. SHARIE ROSS-TSE IS A MEM­BER OF THE BAL­LET GUILD AND THE BRI­TISH FASH­ION COUN­CIL

TA­NIA MO­HAN

SHARIE ROSS-TSE

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