How to shine up and sparkle hard this party season
Vogue editor Anna Dello Russo’s guide to party dressing
“I’m wearing this Jeremy Scott for H&M sequin dress, which Naomi Campbell wore too, itsaaaa soooo amazing,” Anna Dello Russo trills in her fabulously singsong Italian accent. I catch her just as she’s been taking pictures for Instagram in this magpie-delighting silver number. And it’s only 10am.
You may assume that if this is a standard mid-morning look for Dello Russo, the 56-year-old editor-at-large of Vogue Japan and fashion’s most famous peacock, she may have little to offer in terms of practical party style advice for the likes of you and me. Certainly, you’ll know her as the woman unafraid to pose for cameras in an ever rotating sequence of maximalist looks – during September’s fashion month, she trialled everything from a candy floss pink tulle ballgown by Oscar de la Renta to a skintight black sequinned Paco Rabanne catsuit.
But Dello Russo actually has some remarkably sensible tips for not losing your head while putting together your look for party season. First up, don’t rush out to buy a new outfit. In fact, she spends the first six minutes of our conversation telling me of her conversion to eco-friendly shopping over the past year, provoked by images of plastic pollution in the oceans.
“I don’t really have that many clothes any more, I’m less compulsive now,” she explains, though her wardrobe is probably still larger than most, a collection that has been amassed both through an avid shopping habit and the pieces she receives from brands.
“Of course, if I see something beautiful, I am going to buy it – I will always enjoy fashion,” she continues. “I have a responsibility as a public figure. I want to encourage people to re-wear and recycle.”
To that end, I later notice that she wears her new silver dress both with feathered boots for a party and with trainers for strolling down a street in Puglia, where she owns a traditional Trulli house. As well as wanting to make more space in her home for her new boyfriend, Italian businessman Angelo Gioia, Dello Russo’s stuffocation and commitment to recycling is the reason she has decided to clear out her enormous fashion collection.
Over the past nine months, she has sold pieces via Net-a-Porter and at a Christie’s auction, which raised £130,000 for the Swarovski Foundation scholarship programme. The last installment of the purge is her jewellery (“not fine, just costume!”), which she’s selling via Vestiaire Collective, just in time for the party season, when the less abundantly accessorised among us might be looking for a little extra sparkle.
Among the 38 treasures on offer is a Dolce & Gabbana necklace with clusters of paste jewels threaded through a tangle of gold chains and pearls for £320, timelessly elegant interlocked-C Chanel earrings for £275 and a pair of Miu Miu crystal chandeliers “that sparkle like Harry Winston’s” for £185.
“If you’re wearing just a plain black look then adding an amazing 1980s Moschino belt is going to change it completely,” Dello Russo offers in terms of festive styling advice. “Or a gold choker and cuffs suddenly gives you this expensive statement look. I always say these pieces must be visible from kilometres away. I always bought them thinking about whether they would be seen in my street style pictures.” It’s a philosophy to borrow for the office Christmas party.
Less practical perhaps is her insistence that “super high-heeled sandals without a doubt!” are the best party shoes, but on shopping well, she is a true sage. “My preparation is very specific. When I go shopping, I already know exactly what I want in advance, I scour the catwalks and think ‘that’s my look’, then I can get what I need in five minutes in the shop.
“Getting ready for an event is then very instinctive – if you have bought the right things then you have the perfect pieces to play with. I usually wake up and know exactly what to wear because I’ve already done all the hard work.”
- © The Daily Telegraph