Fashion: Swoon shine

Kate Hudson arrives at the Oscars in a metallic gown by Maria Lucia Hohan.
Kate Hudson arrives at the Oscars in a metallic gown by Maria Lucia Hohan.
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From the Oscars to the catwalks of London, New York and Milan, glisten is good to go. Stephanie Smith has advice on how to wear it.

When it comes to fashion for 2016, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high and bright.

High and shiny, even better. We may not all have personal stylists, and internation designers offering us our pick of couture and catwalk creations, but we can still take a tip or two from the red carpet – and that means lots and lots of gleaming, glistening, glinting and glowing gorgeous looks.

Shine, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a major trend for this coming spring and summer, and one that will continue well into the autumn/winter and beyond, judging by the runways we’ve been watching so far in Milan, London and New York. Shine all the way.

Kate Hudson stole the show, sartorial-shine wise, on the red carpet at the Oscars this week – and she knew it. Wearing a cutaway metallic knife-pleat full-skirted gown with daring side slit, custom-made by Maria Lucia Hohan, she was undoubedly Gleam Queen of the night.

And, although custom-made, there are other gowns by the same designer, available to buy on so, if you’ve got a big do coming up, one that you really want to impress at, you know where to look. They cost from around £750 to around £1,150.

Lily Cole, meanwhile, rocked up looking truly fabulous in a stunning gown by Vivienne Westwood Couture, billowing with asymmetric drama, all tiny Titania waist and cascades of what looked like silver shot silk, but was actually made from recycled plastic bottles. It was created in collaboration with Red Carpet Green Dress, an organisation that combines fashion with sustainability as part of a campaign conceived by Suzy Amis Cameron, wife of James Cameron, to challenge designers to think about fashion in an eco-friendly way.

Lily accessorised with gold metallic Vivienne Westwood heels and a gold serpent bracelet – a look to steal, if ever there was one. Gold and silver together is officially “a thing”, on the basis that more is more, and there’s no reason why warm tones cannot blend with cool ones, as long as both are shiny.

The classical gown, with furls of ivory chiffon, ruched and draped cleanly yet opulently around the body, is another red carpet and special occasion favourite that gets the shine treatment for the coming season, in fabrics spun with glitter or sprinkled with sequins or encrusted with gemstones.

It’s a look that can be achieved easily and quite economically by heading to the bridesmaids section at BHS. I know, I know, but the dress featured here does not look overly bridesmaidy – just ditch the posy, add gold heels, a gold clutch bag and a gold snake bangle, and you too can make like Lily.

There are plenty of other ways of wearing high-shine and glistening, melting metallics this coming season. Shiny trousers, for example, can be worn slim-leg, tailored and pencil sharp, to dress up with heels, silky slip and chic jacket or dressed down with sneakers and bomber, for a street-wise sports luxe look.

Speaking of bombers, they go all shiny for spring too. Gucci teamed a sliver bomber with a green lace skirt, creating a retro look that is so contemporary cool, and surprisingly easy to wear.

Accessories are, of course, the perfect way to key into the shiny metallics trend, so look out for bags and shoes in silver, bronze and all hues of gold, but bear in mind that there is so much of the shiny stuff about that you will have to go for something out of the ordinary if you want to create a special look. You’re looking for depth of glow, burnished and molten, with intriguing pattern and texture, so avoid anything that looks cheap and nasty.