Gala Gowns

By staff November 1, 2002

If the extravagant fashions in our season preview have you wanting to see more, here's a primer for what trends are hot this season on Sarasota's party circuit.

According to Sally Schule of Saks Fifth Avenue, "We're really back to pretty dressing, and I think that's going to be around for a while." Defining the trend are ultra-feminine accents galore. Schule says the black, short cocktail dress will always be important, but after that, anything goes.

"We're seeing grays, navy and quite a bit of red, along with rich chocolate," says Schule. Meanwhile, hemlines are going from short to long, depending on the occasion, but festooned with asymmetrical ruffles and fringe.

And say good-bye to taffeta. This season, slinky silk and silk blends are all the rage, the better to cling to Sarasota's taut bodies. Schule says to look for polyester and even spandex in these fabrications. Spandex? "Yes, a lot of the gowns are very fitted, and they need the spandex to allow for movement."

These ingenious blends are embellished to the hilt with lots of embroidery. But will these modern fashions pale next to glitzy, sequined frocks? Schule says an emphatic no. "If you see a sequin, it's just going to be an accent. It's not like the old days when an entire garment was made out of sequins and was impossible to sit in."

Dress up your new youthful gowns with vintage handbags, again embellished with embroidery and beading, and over-sized fringed wraps. Finish off with strappy stiletto heels, adorned (again) with flashy embroidery and shiny rhinestones.

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