Updates on Holiday Dressing
by Thomas Sweeney
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
In the Digital Age, with our ever-growing lists of contacts and engagements, dressing for the holiday-party circuit isn’t an easy feat. This winter, though, a handful of designers have mercifully eased the process, serving up standout dresses (read:one-piece items) that update the cuts, finishes, and sumptuous textures of seasons past. What’s more, party-dress colorways have been reimagined, for hues that nod to traditional notions of “festive” but avoid the clichéd glitz.
The bridge between then and now is perhaps most perceptible in Erdem Moralioglu’s “Geneva” dress. Inspired by the designer’s British-Turkish origins, the fit-and-flare garment sports a prim neckline that says Edwardiana, but any conservatism is offset by the Modernist cut-out detail over la décolletage. For the holiday reveler, the floral jacquard print could be perceived as Christmas-y: rich greens and golds mingle with tender Turkish rose, spotlit by the fabric’s semi-gloss sheen.
For Cate Holstein, the KHAITE designer, who built her label on subtle sensuality, sheen appears softly on the rippling, brassy-golden velvet of her "Karen" dress. It complements the muted elegance of the rest of her work, which she has described as having "a strong, feminine perspective" that "doesn't go girly or precious." The dress—high-necked, bias-cut, and ankle-length—wouldn't look out of place at a Studio 54–themed soirée (fitting for a piece whose designer has a knack for perfecting American classics). As a parting gift, the draped open back features graceful crisscross straps that echo the New York minimalism of the 90s.
The "Karen" dress complements the muted elegance of the rest of Cate Holstein's work, which she has described as having "a strong, feminine perspective" that "doesn't go girly or precious."
At Dolce & Gabbana, a multicolor patchwork dress bares the brand’s love of whimsy and riotous color, which, incidentally, are two hallmarks of holiday dressing. Sewn in a modern sheath silhouette from scale-shaped patches of corded lace, the dress playfully recalls vintage interior-folk-art themes (or, just maybe, a tightly packed bundle of tree lights). For Calvin Klein 205W39NYC and Marni, however, the palette of Christmas confectionery is evoked (think Jell-O lime and sugarplum), offering alternatives to pine green and poinsettia red. While less historically referential in design than the Erdem and Dolce & Gabbana numbers, they are, with their candy hues, sure to capture the innocent spirit of the age-old holiday season—no matter how jam-packed the wearer’s schedule.
Lighting Jon Ervin
Styling Vanessa Traina
Hair Takayoshi Tsukisawa
Makeup Kristi Matamoros at Frank Reps
Model Malgosia Bela