Just Gowning Around: Dressing for the Holidays 2012

Gucci FW 2012

Gentle reader,

I felt a little superficial attending a fashion book party last week while our friends in New York were bailing themselves out of a hurricane only to dig themselves out of a snowstorm a few days later.  If know my New Yorkers, though, they’d all want to know what to wear when the extreme weather conditions subside, so I coaxed my party cohort DJ Martinez into her best Bananarama-circa-1983 look and made the best of it.

We were the first guests to arrive at Melrose Avenue’s BOA Gallery so I got a chance to check out the book and sample the VeeV açai liqueur cocktails before everyone else got there.  The book, Style Protocol by Reinaldo Irizarry, seems to be a good basic men’s guide for dressing.  There are tips on choosing the right shoe, tying the right tie and mastering the choice of shirt for your needs, and I’m sure all of those are helpful.  I’m just not sure it’s anything you couldn’t find during an evening of Google searches and it’s odd that it seemed so basic considering the fact the very charming Reinaldo and his friends showed up to the party in dinner jackets that appeared to be made from various upholstery fabrics.  Hmmm.  But the book is cute and could be a good gift for someone who is challenged in the area of sartorial basics.

Dj Matinez James Tuttle

DJ Martinez and me.

Another area that may be challenging is dressing for those elaborate One-Percent holiday parties now that the Ninety-Nine Percent have triumphed at the polls.  I’m the last to mix politics and fashion but I was taken aback when I saw a couple of my most beloved clients the morning after the elections looking like they were ready to cut a bitch.  I simply reminded myself that I chose to vote for my civil rights while they were voting for their bank accounts so I couldn’t really hold a grudge.  “That’s why we live in a democracy,” I assured them with a smile, and they went on their not-so-merry way.

That story isn’t really going to help you pick your frocks for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but maybe this will:  if the fall/winter runways were any indication, you’ll be seeing a lot of black this holiday season.  That doesn’t have to mean you’re going to be lost in the crowd.  Some of the most memorable dresses were the diaphanous “vampire bride” gowns that closed the Gucci show and the dark Givenchy collection had some of my favorite party dresses accented with hits of deeply saturated color.  It looks like whites and ivories are going to be big, too, and those are a great way to make a glamorous impression especially if you’re a blonde.

Balmain FW 2012


Red is going to be another hot color, especially in the Chinese Art Deco looks at Jason Wu and Jenny Packham.  If 1930s Shanghai isn’t really your thing, you can always try tsarist Russia.  Alice Temperley turned out some exquisitely beaded gowns that would have looked great at a St. Petersburg ball in 1915 and, with Balmain’s Fabergé egg theme and Keira Knightly looking gorgeous in the new Anna Karenina movie, it’s pre-revolutionary Russia’s time in the fashion spotlight.

Rounding out the big eveningwear trends this year are lace and embroidery.  Valentino and Erdem both did lace successfully but with Valentino’s signature restraint and Erdem’s punches of hot color, they were worlds apart.  Dolce and Gabanna also had some lovely lace but it was really their baroque embroideries that stood out.  In true form, their gold was very shiny and their floral tapestries looked like they could have been torn from your Italian grandmother’s dining room chair seats…and now I’m not really even sure why I thought of mentioning that stuff in my tightly edited Holiday Round-up.  If I were you, I’d throw on the loose cashmere sweater over exquisitely embroidered velvet pants that Karlie Kloss wore on the Balmain runway and call it a damn day.

Much love,



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Comments: 2

  • M Fay November 14, 20128:46 pm

    James! I read your column every week, sorry I having commented. Look forward to each post! xo, M.Fay
    PS: Still trying to figure out the “uniform” for a new mother who spends most of the day at home ;)

    • JamesTuttle November 15, 20128:11 am

      @M Fay Hi, my dear! I’m so glad you’re enjoying. I’ll have a think about the “new mother uniform” but I think it’s important that the shoulders are chewable, am I right?

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