Starlight soirée

The finest ceremonial ready-to-wear from the top brands


London Editor

Baptisms, graduations, anniversaries, inaugurations, first nights at the opera, award ceremonies: there are countless important events that represent milestones in our lives, powerful emotions in the company of our family, friends and colleagues that leave a lasting impression. Luckily, the great fashion maisons are ready to take you by the hand and fit you out for whatever high society event awaits you. With that touch of eccentricity that has become a constant hallmark of contemporary glamour, providing a subtle link to the latest fashion trends.

Transgressive or romantic? Here are the perfect gowns for you, straight from the most exclusive runways. At Gucci, Frida Giannini wields her brush like an artist working on a canvas, and presents a rather dark romanticism, with references to a mysterious, almost dreamlike world, something out of Charles Baudelaire's ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’. The result is a look that is both provocative and intellectual, perfect for opening nights at the theatre, inauguration balls, celebrations that are not excessively formal, or a youthful wedding amongst multicoloured confetti. We recommend the velvet jackets, trouser skirts, and the light chiffon voile.

A mix of temptress and warrior, the Versace woman is equally provocative, and ready to take the stage in events that call for a twist, such as graduations in arty subjects or contemporary cultural openings. She wears a velvet redingote with a Byzantine-cross print pattern, dark-coloured mini-dresses, or glittering looks that seem to have been designed directly on the body. If you're looking to wow the other guests at an exceptional evening occasion in which there is much more glamour than ceremony, such as an après-red carpet event, try the chainmail gown, which immediately transforms you into the queen of cyber-rock.

For more traditional events such as important weddings, a good choice is Christian Dior, a brand that this year has abandoned excess, adopting a sober and very feminine elegance. Looks for the daytime are close-fitting on the bust, and looser and more swinging on the hips. In the evening, they become softer and more romantic, with petal shapes, and prestige fabrics such as tulle, satin and silk. Wearing them gives you a style that recalls the divine Grace Kelly.

The collection by Louis Vuitton has touches of the natural elegance of Charlotte Perriand. It combines military details with rounded forms, opulent textiles and luxuriant decoration. The woman styled by Mark Jacobs is absolutely and eternally feminine, with unmistakable charm and the bold, chic appeal that hallmarks the brand. Ideal for a first night at the theatre or opera.

Burberry Prorsum adds a dash of that classic proper Brit to the evening with sumptuous velvet column dresses paired with contrast velvet belts with a pretty bow accent. Asymmetric draped skirts in velvet, wool and peplum are the perfect answer to an event that doesn’t call for ball gown attire, while the tiered eyelash pencil skirts infuse an effortless sass to even the most basic pair of black heels and stockings.

The femininity proposed by Etro is carefully constructed and crafted to produce a look of luxurious elegance. Paisley is Veronica Etro’s star this season and it reigns supreme over floor length dresses in velvet, embroidered on lace or tulle intarsia and luscious leather. Elements that hallmark a collection in which the Etro roots are combined with a contemporary vision of refined sophistication.