Dance til’ dawn

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Dance til’ dawn

Prom fashion turns into red carpet moment

By (AP)

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Published: Sat 27 Apr 2013, 3:39 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:38 AM

YOU MIGHT AS well roll out the red carpet in front of the school gymnasium or hotel ballroom and line it with parental paparazzi: Prom season provides many girls a chance to have their moment in the spotlight.

It’s likely that this year’s parade of fashions will include a few starlet lookalikes. And why not?

Today’s young celebrities span many styles. There’s Jennifer Lawrence, who has come to awards shows dressed both sporty and sleek, and like a princess; Taylor Swift, who moves seamlessly from vintage to ethereal; and sometimes funky, sometimes artsy Chloe Moretz.

There are also Rihanna and Selena Gomez, notes Gina Kelly, fashion director at Seventeen. “You’ve got Selena Gomez, who’s a little sweeter, and Rihanna, who’s edgier. Within that range, you’ve got a lot of options.”

Coming just off the Hollywood awards season, all the options are fresh in girls’ minds, she says, and they’ve gotten ideas on how to put a whole package together. Lawrence, for example, wore a bona fide ballgown — and there are girls who want that — but her delicate jewellery and loose updo added youthfulness, Kelly observes.

Young and Vibrant

Georgina Chapman, designer of red-carpet favourite Marchesa, is now offering a significantly less expensive version of her party looks at JCPenney under the Pearl label. With a toddler daughter at home, a brand new son born last week, and teenage stepdaughters, she was itchy to do something for the younger crowd.

For even her older teen stepdaughter, Chapman says she felt like Marchesa’s dramatic signature might have been a little too much. “You want to look vibrant. You’ve got that young glow, work with that!”

She hopes Pearl adds a little “more tongue in cheek” than Marchesa, with the same level of attention to details, and you’ll have the embellishment and ruffles.

There are looks that hit the right note between risktaker and risqué. The Grammys this year came with an edict that outfits couldn’t show too much skin, so some stars, including Rihanna, worked around it with sheer illusion fabrics and peek-a-boo cutouts, both compromises that also might follow mom’s rules.

Even if girls don’t want to hear it, a dress that will allow them to stand, sit and dance will be more fun in the end. “You don’t want to have to worry about falling out of your dress every time you move,” says Seventeen’s Kelly.

Made for comfort

Comfort also can fuel confidence.

Mandi Line, costume designer for TV’s Pretty Little Liars, encourages girls to try on as many prom dresses as possible. Then, she says, “go with your gut or you won’t be happy at the dance.”

“What do you want to show off? Your legs, your arms? Then look at your favourite star. You might not be like them, you might not look like them. But it’s a good start for ideas,” Line says.

Even with seasoned celebrities who seem edgier or more experimental, you’ll notice they usually take time to figure out what makes them comfortable — perhaps a signature silhouette — and then they’ll go wild with accessories or colour, says Line, who is meeting with teens across the country at prom events at Macy’s stores.

She says the colours of persimmon, sort of an orange-red, and mint green are everywhere this season, often paired with black and white. Some girls are picking a theme, such as 1980s dance party or a 1950s sock-hop.

But, adds Kelly, don’t put too much emphasis on the outfit. The dress is just part of what should be a really fun night, she says.

Her last-minute tip to pull it all together: “Stand up straight and don’t slouch your shoulders. You’re always going to look better that way.”

Flower power

THE ELABORATE INVITATION has been proffered and accepted, the limo rented and the outfits coordinated, so what’s next when planning for prom?

That traditional pop of spring, of course, in the corsage and boutonniere.

Once a sweet surprise and often all white to go with any outfit, prom flowers have made the leap into the new millennium with glitzy embellishments, jewellery attachments and a world of creativity for the florists who design them.

No more scratchy, throwaway wristbands (unless you want one) and no more fumbling with straight pins as your nervous date squirms. Today’s corsages don’t even have to be corsages. Flowers can be worn on the head, upper arm or shoe, at the shoulder, on a necklace, as a ring or even stuck right onto a bare back or leg.

These days, flowers have taken their place as a key accessory rather than mere appendage handed over in time for photos before heading out the door.

“Everyone wants to be unique and different from someone else and that’s a big deal, trying to do something different,” said Jasmine Snow, accessories editor for Seventeen magazine. “It’s so cool to be able to try these new modern takes on using fresh flowers as opposed to just doing the normal.”

ATTACHMENTS: Bangles, beads, multiple strands of rhinestones, fancy cuff bracelets in silver, gold or any wire creation imaginable have replaced the cheapy wristlets of corsages past. Slap bracelets are also used as a base, easily painted or sprayed with glitter to match an overall look. Some florists stock options but invite customers to bring along their own jewellery.

Sparkly broaches or decorative pins can also be used as an attachment for teens of any gender.

EMBELLISHMENTS: Anything goes regardless of where you decide to place your flowers — and whether you’re the one in a dress or a tux. Coloured feathers, ribbons of different textures, prints and widths and silk leaves can be mixed. Arrangements can have dangling strands of beads or rhinestones or bejewelled pins. And in a trend borrowed from the wedding industry, plant succulents and pods are used as accents.

And in some cases, the whole shebang is sprayed with glitter!

PLACEMENT: Wearing the prom arrangement on the wrist remains popular, but florists and designers support other placements as well, the head among them.

“I love doing hair flowers,” said Stacey Bendet of Alice & Olivia. “It’s more modern.”

Gillespie and Twigs are among shops offering florals attached to rhinestone-studded tiaras, more relaxed bohemian headbands worn across the forehead or around-the-head wreaths.

“Or he can just pick some and she can pin them to her hair or a bun,” Bendet said. “Hair flowers are definitely a trend right now.”

She also suggests floral arrangements attached to purses or phone cases. Gillespie will make small arrangements intended for the toe or ankle strap of a shoe, either glued or tied on with ribbon, or hang an arrangement from a rhinestone-studded necklace that ties with ribbon at the back.

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