Friday 23 March 2018

Party plush - a love affair with velvet and textured sparkles

'Tis the season to enjoy the whole dressing up experience and mix those textures

Drop earrings, €17; blue metallic turtle neck top, €33; palazzo pants, €75; disco ball-effect platform, €45, all River Island.
Drop earrings, €17; blue metallic turtle neck top, €33; palazzo pants, €75; disco ball-effect platform, €45, all River Island.
Black feather necklace, €25; top, €22; skirt, €37, River Island.
Red velvet bubble dress with v-neck, €225, Maje at BT2.
1950s Indian bag with gold lamé thread, beads and stones, €80, Jean Cronin Vintage, second floor, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.
Early 1960s clip-on earrings, €75, Jean Cronin Vintage.
Emerald metallic brocade shorts, €34.99, H&M.
Sequin bomber, €99, H&M.
Sequin turtle neck blouse, €39.99, H&M.
Satin-lined 'Adela' midnight blue velvet blazer, €895 and 'Iman' midnight encrusted evening dress, €3,500, Louise Kennedy, 56 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 and Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin.
Box bag with tassel and chain, €55, River Island
'Semona' velvet dress, €860, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Brown Thomas.
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

I know I'm not alone in having a huge festive hang-up and love affair with velvet and textured sparkles. To me, they are the ultimate Christmas party go-to, commanding the power to morph into what we need for a strong, highly individual daytime look or evening glamazon outfit.

I've been watching Louise Kennedy's velvet blazers rather intently ever since Victoria Smurfit wore one when we judged Best Dressed together at the Irish Champions Weekend last year. Louise's midnight blue one (pictured) earns its keep, working equally well with cigarette-end trousers and heels for lunch or a knock-out, high-impact sparkly dress for formal dinner.

The most touchable of fabrics, plush pile velvet came through in so many of the memorable Fall 2015 catwalk shows, from the likes of Alexander Wang and Sonia Rykiel to Dries Van Noten so I was a happy camper. As the season wraps, I found some lovely rich jewel pieces which you can layer up with contrasting textures and get all touchy feely.

All of the pieces are from well-established high street brands and the magpie in me was in seventh heaven when I spotted the lovely embellished evening bag and clip-on earrings at Jean Cronin's brand new vintage store which she has just opened on the second floor of the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. It is a new pop-up from Jean who has lots of fans for her collection of vintage gems in The Loft and she will be returning again in the spring with a very exciting project. Keep your eye on that one.

Try this three-step party piece: Charlotte Tilbury 'Wonderglow' primer to lift the skin, chandelier earrings and a glossy lip that contrasts with your velvet and sequins.

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