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CHARACTER DRESSING: PART 1

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LET’S TALK ABOUT POWER DRESSING, for starters. It’s hard not to assimilate with the rock-solid starting point of a man’s jacket. Particularly because, by itself it is complete in its statement, but can be built on to tell any story you like. You can take the look further with a double breasted jacket (as pictured) or you can see what it might look like in a silk fabric, for a dark, temptingly seductive take. You can be the Eve or the Adam, or both.

Except the jacket in the script for dressing in the character of a powerful woman has been done again and again. While it will always stand out as a key piece, some designers have successfully exploited a different avenue. Let’s look at Lanvin, for example, with Alber Elbaz. In his S/S11 collection, his clothes were outwardly feminine, but they were also strong and fearsome. Strong, confident lines, dominating silhouettes and a great expanse of fabric, said: “Yes, I will go there, I will take up this space, and I will not be afraid.” It also didn’t hurt with the addition of stark colours and leather touches: tough materials for tough people.

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Power dressing has evolved from suit jackets with shoulder pads, and has become recognisable in a variety of traits: head-to-toe colour, dramatic lines and binary opposites. Decisively choosing one side or the other, regarding all things: necklines, shoes, hem height, hem length, accessories. Anything that demands attention without becoming ostentatious is damn powerful; anything that is a trademark of being brave, sure and ready. With this in mind, Haider Ackermann’s draping of silks and acknowledgement of new and undiscovered female erogonous zones is up for discussion. Which is the perfect sentiment to end on and set up the discussion for next time: Character Dressing Part 2: Dressing Sexy.

Stay tuned.