DRESS TO THRILL

How a mem­o­rable out­fit is made. By Chris­tine Whit­ney

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Throw­ing cau­tion to the winds is the way to go if you want to make an im­pact, say ex­perts

So what ex­actly does it mean to dress with a dash of dar­ing? There are as many in­ter­pre­ta­tions as the day is long: For stylist Ju­lia von Boehm, it’s wear­ing white over black un­der­wear; for Style Bub­ble blog­ger Susie Lau, it’s pair­ing Cé­line trousers with a ki­mono; and for Ana Maria Pi­mentel, Fash­ion Di­rec­tor for women’s ac­ces­sories at Neiman Mar­cus, it’s as sim­ple as swap­ping your clutch for a chic back­pack, like the ones at Proenza Schouler and the Row.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to broach the sub­ject with­out a nod to the doyennes of orig­i­nal dress­ing, like Iris Apfel and the late Anna Pi­aggi, who ba­si­cally wrote the book on dar­ing. Apfel’s over­size round glasses are an in­stantly recog­nis­able sig­na­ture that adds ex­cite­ment to any­thing she wears. And Pi­aggi’s ec­cen­tric getups, which of­ten in­cluded rain­bow furs and flow­er­pot hats are the stuff of leg­end.

So how can you marry taste and dar­ing in your wardrobe? Strate­gi­cally placed flashes of skin are a good place to start. “Don’t be afraid to show a bit of skin if you are feel­ing provoca­tive,” sug­gests Pi­mentel. She cites Ba­len­ci­aga’s cutout pieces as op­tions that strike the right bal­ance be­tween el­e­gant and in­trepid. The sheer dresses over me­tal­lic un­der­pin­nings from Dior’s cruise col­lec­tion had the same ef­fect. De­signer Joseph Al­tuzarra says you can hit the right note by “wear­ing a but­ton-down shirt very open or pair­ing it with a slit skirt,” as in his lat­est col­lec­tion. That said a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion about dar­ing dress­ing is that you have to be next to naked to qual­ify. “De­cide what you want to cover up and what you want to show,” ad­vises Al­tuzarra. A high slit or a short skirt goes a long way, but off­set it with more mod­esty on top.

Ac­ces­sories can be an easy en­trée into that elu­sive dash. “Start clas­sic and then add one fancy fash­ion­able piece, like a me­tal­lic Prada shoe, rather than too many el­e­ments, says von Boehm. Jew­ellery de­signer Delfina Delettrez agrees. I al­ways wear at least one con­ver­sa­tion piece, usu­ally usu­all jew­ellery,” says Delettrez, whose sur­re­al­ist sur­re­al­ist baubles fea­tur­ing evil eyes and skulls cer cer­tainly fit the bill. Dur­ing New York Fash­ion Week, street-style star and Buro 24/7 founder foun Miroslava Duma took a de­mure dem Dior blouse up a notch by wear­ing it with a leather yoke from Ukrainian de­signer Kse­nia Kireeva. Other dar­ing ac­ces­sories to try now in­clude Chloé’s high­fash­ion slides with metal ac­cents, which blur the line be­tween cou­ture and ca­sual, pro­vid­ing an un­ex­pected on­trend twist.

For a stronger state­ment, Delettrez favours a rather spec­tac­u­lar m more-is-more ap­proach: “I wear a navy dress from a small nuns’ shop close to t the Vat­i­can with vin­tage black buck­led fetish boots and an ou­tra­geous Fendi fur in trop­ica trop­i­cal al bird colours, topped off with my rings in n pearls and colour­ful stones,” she shee says. “And “A a bag big enough to fit my Ben­gal ca cat.”

But you don’t have to in­cor­po­rate live fe­line ac­ces­sories to get the look. For a more mod­er­ate mo dash of dar­ing, Pi­mentel ad­vo­cates mixed prints. Prim flo­rals by them­selves them­selv can skew to­wards tra­di­tional fem­i­nin­ity, fem­i­nin but cre­at­ing a bou­quet of mo­tifs has more piz­zazz. Or pair a flow­ery Carolina Her­rera skirt with a stripe striped Petit Bateau top to give your chic side some edge. Try orange in place of a neu­tral, per­haps team­ing a tange tan­ger­ine jacket from 3.1 Phillip Lim with white wide-legged pants from Calv Calvin Klein. Rule of thumb: If it mak makes your heart beat a lit­tle faster, you you’re on the right track.

Ul­ti­mately, dar­ing is in the a at­ti­tude. “It’s wear­ing some­thing your own way,” Al­tuzarra says. “It’s about con­fi­dence,” adds Pi­mentel. “Wear your clothes, don’t let them wear you. For L Lau, it’s “throw­ing things in unex un­ex­pect­edly.” And von Boehm of­fers the la last word on what qual­i­fies: “Be­ing nak naked un­der a black trench.” Just make sure it’s an el­e­gant one.

Ju­lia von Boehm

Miroslava Duma

Delfina Dele­trez

Iris Apfel

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