Mirror, Mirror: Off the red carpets and on to the proms

Posted: February 29, 2012

Now that the 2012 red-carpet hoopla is over, another high-drama fashion season is under way.

Prom.

If teens take their cues from this year's awards shows, high school gyms will be chock-full of old-school Hollywood glamour.

Along with the latest blush tones, I'm predicting a plethora of frocks in fiery reds like the peplumed Louis Vuitton Michelle Williams wore Sunday night at the Oscars. (My absolute fave.)

Bluish greens and cobalt blue will be important, too, and we can't forget black. Everyone's still talking about Angelina Jolie's Atelier Versace that inspired a snarky style-watcher to set up a Twitter account for Jolie's leg. (I'm not advocating Jolie's way-too-thin vampire look, but I still think splits will rule.)

According to prom-style experts, including one local blogger, here's how this year's red-carpet trends will speak to teens.

Blush tones

Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer has proved throughout this season that plus-sized women can rock pastels. But her sparkling ecru Tadashi Shoji was a tonal winner Sunday night.

And one that foreshadows, too.

"This is going to be a creamy, blush prom season," said Marissa Rubinetti, senior buyer for special-occasion dresses at the Conshohocken-based David's Bridal. The colorless color is the biggest fashion trend for prom, she said.

Rubinetti credited Gwyneth Paltrow's one-shouldered Tom Ford, Rooney Mara's creamy fishtail Givenchy, and Shailene Woodley's long-sleeve Valentino Couture as top reasons why youngsters will be vying for ivory.

But, Rubinetti reminds us, the onset of the trend can be traced back to the bridesmaid gown, courtesy of Alexander McQueen, that Pippa Middleton wore to her sister Kate's wedding in April.

"Girls are coming in asking for the ivory palette as well as blush nudes, champagnes, and golds," Rubinetti said. "And they want them with sexy details like an open back."

More demure

That doesn't mean they are channeling Jennifer Lopez's winter white, custom cutout, and possibly nipple-baring Zuhair Murad. After all, that look is so late-'90s. (In fact, hasn't Lopez been wearing that look since then?)

The softer color palette is paired with a more classy look for today's prom girls, said 17-year-old fashion blogger Tweety Elitou.

Look for teens to opt for open backs and covered cleavage.

"My friends and I are definitely looking at more-covered-up looks," said Philadelphia-based Elitou.

Strapless dresses such as Sarah Michelle Gellar's tie-dyed Monique Lhuillier will be high on the must-have list, Elitou added, and as on Gellar's to-die-for gown, the necklines will be higher.

Although some of the long-sleeved styles are too conservative for young women, the one-shoulder dress is an example of how these looks are transferring to prom, said Daphne Hardin, owner of Bensalem's Golden Asp prom shop.

Take the slinky, dark, silver-sparkled Oday Shakar gown Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter wore to the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Two years later, teens will be taking to sleeves thanks to younger celebrities such as Glee girl Lea Michele, who wore a see-through Marchesa at the 2012 Golden Globes.

"The one-long-sleeved look allows them to be covered up and be fashion forward," Hardin said.

Jeweled out

 The sequined, strapless Armani Prive The Office's Ellie Kemper wore this weekend will drive the desire for all things sparkling, Hardin said.

Makes sense. After all, it's hard to miss a shimmering gown. (This does not mean diamonds and rhinestones.)

And, agreed Elitou, the more figure-skimming dazzle, the less need for exposed flesh.

"It's just so classy, and it gives the clothes a vintage feel," Elitou said.

This is a shift from previous years, when beads were reserved just for the holiday, Rubinetti said.

Now it's all about sequins in spring.


Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704, ewellington@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter at ewellingtonphl.

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