Sparkle And Shine
In this latest fashion column, fashion historian Scott William Schiavone takes a look at the Christmas cue to wear all that glitters…
The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s time to turn up the glamour and embrace the festive spirit. When it comes to festive fashion, one trend that never fails to make a dazzling statement is sequins and sparkles. These shimmering embellishments are a guaranteed way to add a touch of magic to any outfit. Sequins have been a staple in festive fashion for decades and their timeless appeal continues to captivate fashion enthusiasts.
The word ‘sequin’ originates from the Arabic word ‘sikka’ meaning ‘coin’. Sequins date back as far as the ancient Egyptians. When King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922, gold sequin like disks were found sewn onto the Egyptian royal’s garments.
In the 1920s, western fashion quickly reflected the dazzling artifacts in King Tut’s tomb. Young women, known as ‘Bright Young Things’ wore dresses for dancing the Charleston that were embellished with hundreds of sequins. The beauty of sequins lies in their ability to catch and reflect light, creating a mesmerising play of sparkle.
A dress from the collection at The Harris Museum in Preston is covered in ice blue coloured sequins. The style is typical of the 1920s with its short length, simple shape and plain neckline. This dress was worn at the 1922 Preston Guild ball and would certainly have sparkled on the dance floor.
Whether you’re attending a ball, a family gathering, an office party or a New Year’s Eve bash, sequins are the perfect choice to make a bold statement. For a classic and elegant approach, a sequined cocktail dress in rich colours like red, green or blue will make you look and feel amazing. Pair your sequined dress with timeless accessories like a clutch bag and high heel to complete the ensemble.
If you prefer a more versatile look, incorporate sequins into your outfit through statement pieces such as a sequined blazer worn over a simple black dress or paired with tailored trousers. This will transform your look from ordinary to extraordinary.
If, like me, you like to experiment with textures and patterns, mix sequins with other fabrics like velvet or silk to create a luxurious and dimensional look that is both stylish and sophisticated. Remember that the key to mastering the art of sequins is to let them take centre stage. Keep the rest of your accessories relatively understated to allow the shimmering embellishments to shine.
From ancient opulence to contemporary chic, sequins have woven a sparkling thread through the tapestry of fashion history. Whether you choose a full-on sequined dress, a statement blazer, or a mix of textures, let your festive spirit shine through your fashion choices.
So, this festive season, embrace the magic of sequins and sparkles and step into a fashion wonderland, where every ensemble tells a story, and every accessory sparkles with the spirit of celebration!
Scott William Schiavone is a fashion historian and Curator of Decorative Art at The Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston. Scott has worked with fashion and textile collections in museums across the UK. Scott has his own YouTube channel, Fashion &… and is an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society.