While I love getting invitations to holiday parties, they inevitably raise the same old question: “What am I going to wear?” (Especially if it’s a dressy affair.) For advice, I turned to Sue Wong, a designer known for her embellished special-occasion dresses.
“My clothes have a vintage, Old Hollywood glamour and sensibility,” says Wong, calling them “collectible classics.” She adds, “They make women feel like goddesses.”
Her holiday line features lace, bead and embroidery details, as well as black tulle layered over bright jewel colors, and a lot of strapless and fitted sheaths. She shows them with a sheer shawl or scarf. “There’s still a sexy see-through effect, but it veils the arms if they’re not in tip-top shape,” she explains.
If you have great gams, Wong suggests playing them up in a dressy short cocktail number with textured hose and a great pair of heels. Draw attention to your face with accessories like chandelier earrings and a hair ornament. “Carry the glamour through to the makeup: Red lips, smoky eyes and blush to highlight the cheekbones,” she says. (For subtle glamour, check out “One Look: Fit to Be Framed” in the latest issue of VIVmag.)
In her holiday line and carrying over to spring, there are 1920s-inspired flapper styles with Art Deco patterns. “It’s been a staple of my line for years,” she points out, but with the May release of The Great Gatsby film, it’s well-timed. Wong also takes inspiration from “iconic muses” like screen legends Theda Bara, Gloria Swanson, Norma Talmadge, and the “quintessential Old Hollywood grande dame of homes, The Cedars,” her Los Angeles residence. Many of the photo shoots for her line are done in the iconic Hollywood landmark, a Venetian-style home built for Talmadge in the 1920s.
Another favorite theme of Wong’s is “the fairy princess vs. the vampy seductress,” reflected in the plentiful white (suitable for brides) and black dresses in her collection, but there are nudes, lavenders, and bright colors represented as well.
Originally a sportswear designer, she anticipated the need for millennium party dresses in late 1999, “and they flew out the doors.” She found her niche and hasn’t looked back. “Women feel great and glamorous and beautiful when they put on one of my gowns,” she says, “and that’s really the bottom line: to empower women and make them feel good about themselves.”
Before heading out to this year’s holiday parties, I’m going to ask myself if I feel like a goddess. What’s your go-to party look?