WORDS BY NERYS D'ESCLERCS
Holiday social calendar looking a little different this year? Even if you’re spending the festive period at home, there are still plenty of reasons to dress up and celebrate. Whether you go all-out in an evening gown or a tailored suit, or take a more unexpected route, the possibilities for women’s and men’s partywear are endless this season. We’ve scoured some of the world’s best destination boutiques to talk to the experts at Boutique 1, Gio Moretti, Santa Eulalia and GENTE Roma — read on for their exclusive insights into the most stylish party pieces, as well as the fashion brands to know.
How to dress for parties in Dubai, by Boutique 1
‘Dubai is blessed with perfect beach weather at this time of year, characterized by sunny, warm days,’ says senior buyer Deena Khourshid and buyer Hassina Safri of Boutique 1 — the United Arab Emirates’ first high-fashion multi-brand store. ‘The guaranteed sunshine and warm weather, together with the vibrant social scene it offers, makes Dubai a perfect holiday destination.’ Whether you’re lucky enough to celebrate in the sun or you’ll be feeling the warmth of a fireplace this party season, shorter partywear styles such as ‘velvet and embellished mini dresses and skirts’ should be on your list, note Khourshid and Safri. And while there’s still ‘a big focus on accessories and very high heels’, for this particular season, Boutique 1’s clientele ‘is looking at being a bit less “extra”’: ‘Effortless party pieces from Monse, Roland Mouret and Isabel Marant need minimal accessorizing. Add a cool edge to timeless pieces from Victoria Beckham and Proenza Schouler by styling with statement boots from Isabel Marant,’ they suggest. Their partywear highlights? ‘The Rory strapless gown from Jonathan Simkhai and its eye-catching metallic effect, and the fine-knit design on the Roland Mouret black sheer panel dress’ — all available to buy on FARFETCH.
How to dress for parties in Milan, by Gio Moretti
Located on Milan’s only pedestrian shopping street, Via Spiga, Gio Moretti combines its historic Italian roots with modern architecture and innovative visual displays. Looking towards the upcoming festive season, the boutique’s owner, Giovina Moretti, suggests going for all-out glamour for a winter party: ‘Evening and cocktail dresses are typical go-tos during this time of the year.’ She recommends established brands such as Versace and its ‘iconic Medusa-printed silk dresses’, Giambattista Valli’s ‘romantic printed dresses’ and Roland Mouret’s alluring dresses. To complete the look, Christian Louboutin’s ‘classic pumps with the one and only red sole’, or René Caovilla’s signature embellished ‘sexy shoes’. Alternatively, she notes The Attico’s cinched-in blazers and jeans as a more relaxed but no less alluring take on partywear — decadence and comfort in equal measure.
How to dress for parties in Barcelona, by Santa Eulalia
A boutique that’s reigned over Barcelona’s famous avenue, Passeig de Gràcia, for over 175 years, Santa Eulalia is the place to visit when it comes to high-fashion Spanish party dressing. Aside from its wide selection of ready-to-wear, ‘the boutique also counts an atelier for made-to-order suits and shirts,’ says owner Luis Sans, which is ideal for when a more formal event look is needed — such as Barcelona’s annual ‘Solidarity Christmas Tree’ dinner. ‘Even if the holidays are celebrated at home [this year], we must dress up and dress in style to keep the festive spirit,’ notes Sans. ‘In men’s fashion, for pre-Christmas dinners, a black jacket and a white shirt can be combined with pants and trendy shoes, depending on your personal style. For New Year's Eve, the blue or black evening tuxedo is still the main protagonist.’ Modern suit and tuxedo silhouettes come courtesy of Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabbana; for a more classic look, opt for a suit by Canali or Isaia. Both these styles can be made modern in opting for the right fit, says Sans: ‘Blazers should be short and close-fitting and pants narrow at the bottom. There is a tendency to wear pants that are higher on the waist, with darts and greater volume at the top. There is also a clear trend towards pants with an elasticated waist to combine with unstructured jackets and sneakers.’ Just don’t forget the all-important finishing touches: a bow tie and cufflinks.
How to dress for parties in Rome, by GENTE Roma
For over 30 years, GENTE Roma has been Rome’s leading high-fashion destination. With 10 boutiques in the Italian capital and one in Porto Rotondo in Sardinia, its buyers are experts when it comes to ‘La Dolce Vita’ style. ‘Rome is the city of archaeological sites and museums, but it is also a cosmopolitan and contemporary city that can offer exclusive events and parties during every time of the year,’ says the boutique’s menswear buyer, Daniel Addadi. ‘This year will be different for the city, but it is important to be able to keep on living, which includes the search for moments of personal satisfaction and daily well-being.’
Traditionally, Roman parties require ‘an elegant look, with evening clothing such as suits, tuxedos, jackets and shirts completed by luxurious accessories such as ties, cufflinks and bow ties.’ This season, however, Addadi says this look will be toned-down, albeit ‘without losing elegance and style’; he recommends ‘pieces from Neil Barrett, with a minimal but elegant style and refined materials, with modern and contemporary shapes for a more sober but never predictable look.’ For a less formal occasion, look to ‘interlaced sweaters, cardigans and soft trousers with drawstrings, paired with sneakers or boots,’ says Addadi.