1 Nov 2012

The Sparkle Effect

After going to the exhibition Paris Seen By Hollywood a couple weeks ago, I unknowingly took quite a tumultuous liking to sparkly things.  Maybe because I'm already in tune with the festive season, or maybe because Paris has started putting up its Christmas lights.  Either way, the ball gown from the hit musical Lovely to Look at (1952) was showcasing on centre stage, adorned with a flurry of golden sequins and it was magical.  Just like Dorothy's sparkly red slippers, this dress was in every way iconic.

A few days ago, during a much-anticipated shopping trip in the commercial centre Les Quatre Temps near where I work, I managed to pick up what seemed like every sparkly object in sight before hoarding them in a dressing room, just like a magpie.  I attempted to squeeze my baguette-induced love handles into glittery dresses, tops and coats, in all the wrong styles, shapes and sizes just to get that inch closer to the Hollywood sparkle I so deeply wanted to achieve.   

Sequins are tricky.  If worn correctly, they can be classy, eye-catching, show-stopping etc.  If not, it's very easy to look like you're trying too hard, and they can look tacky.  Plus, cheap sequins have a tendency to a) fall off  in a Mexican wave effect by which a whole row seemingly dismantles itself, or b) lose their colour.  The last thing you want is for that gorgeous gold sequined sparkly dress of yours to turn copper brown. 

Ella Henderson - 2012 X Factor hopeful
But I'm not the only one feeling sparkle savvy.  I must admit that I have long said au revoir to The X Factor.  The show seems (how shall I put it?) so last year, and I'm fed up with seeing desperate wannabees who seem to spend more time crying their hearts out than singing them.  I think they'd be able to flood England with all the tears shed.   The sad reality is that these misinformed hopefuls actually believe that they could be the niche in the already niched-out market.  Singing in an annoying airy fairy, wispy voice is no longer ''unique talent'' - it's totally 2008 Diana Vickers copycat.  Each contestant strives to get closer and closer to fame when the reality is that all they're worth is a misspelt headline in the Daily Mail or a three-month Wikipedia column.  I don't regard that as a particularly mean feat.  And no, this isn't jealousy talking.  

Above is a photograph from last Saturday's show.  As much as I've come to love sequins over recent weeks, this is what I'd called a sparkle overload - the silver, black and purple mesh from online boutique Lipsy I frankly found to be a little too overwhelming.  (Sadly those in favour of this fashion flop won't be able to purchase the dress as it was customised and thus not available in their catalogue!)  I personally think she (or more likely the show's dressers) should have taken note from former X factor judge Dannii Minogue who back in September rocked a gorgeous sequin gown which I would do anything to get my hands on right now! Despite her apparent lack of balance, the gown shows just the right amount of cleavage and curve in a gorgeous midnight blue hue which thankfully doesn't scream Disco diva, unlike the aforementioned Miss. Henderson.  Of course if you're invited to a party and ''Disco Diva'' is the theme then I urge you to go ahead and dress yourself in as many multicoloured sequined items as you can get your paws on.  Charity shops would be your best bet for searching for 80s style regalia.  When you're rocking out to Gloria Gaynor on the Karaoke, there's really no room for holding back on the attire front.

Back to the 21st century.  During said shopping travels I tried on a frock in H&M which I was in two minds about.  The main thing stopping me was the fact that I felt like I'd just jumped back to my  flat-chested days at the turn of the millennium, dressed like a school girl for her first ever disco.  The blue and green sequin shimmer was exquisite however, hence the two minds.  Yet I also found the black netting made it feel like I was wearing a tutu, forcing me to reminisce about the old days when I'd go to ballet every Wednesday evening.  The only time acceptable for a girl aged almost 21 to wear a tutu is when she's going as a vampire slut for Halloween.  Which, I'm happy to say, I didn't do this year.  The forever memorable quote from Mean Girls comes to mind: "In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it''.  Well, that's what we tell ourselves anyway.

I never usually shop in Zara as I find the clothing seems more geared towards working women rather than fun-loving students with vibrant taste, but I was nicely surprised by what was on offer during my shopping travels.  To satiate my love of sparkles, I decided to slyly wander over to a rail which had my name written all over it.  You know when you see a dress which just seems so stunningly beautiful and expensive and you’re fully aware you can’t afford it, know you probably won’t look good in it (because that’s what the models are for), yet you still can’t help taking it off the rail and holding it to your chest to pretend that it’s yours for five sweet minutes?  And then you rush off with it to the fitting room; the lick of the zip going up the side of your back is just too nice a noise, and you know it must be done.  Half of you is hoping that the dress looks terrible on you, just so that you’re not tempted to part ways with your ever-burdened wallet, while your vanity is just hoping you look like the bees knees because there’s nothing quite like staring at yourself in the mirror and repeating to yourself “corr, you look good!’  I bought the dress. 

Watch this space.


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