Whether attending a gala dinner, red carpet event or seasonal party, Black Tie dress code cannot be ignored. While some may feel cramped by the rigid restrictions on their individual style, it need be so. DEPARTURES reveals how you can show off a dash of debonair flair and still express your individual sense of style.
"Black tie" means one thing: a tuxedo. If you aren't part of the select few to be chosen by designers such as Salvatore Ferragamo to sport a custom-made tux (we know, it seems unfair that Ryan Gosling seems to get everything these days), then it's a good idea to go with a brand that does it best. One such example is Gieves & Hawkes, a Savile Row staple. This Midnight Blue Single-Breasted Peak Label Dinner Suit paves the way to suit stardom on the red roll. The traditional look with the single breast and one button, paired with flat-front dinner trousers, is a winning classic. Naturally, the hems are unfinished to allow for custom tailoring for the perfect fit, while the signature Savile Row roped shoulder will show off your suit know-how. What's more, the interior of the jacket pocket conceals a separate ticket pocket – just in case the "Don't you know who I am?" line doesn't work and you need to prove your credentials to slip through the door.
Whereas women have the freedom to make bold style gestures on the red runway, the secret to a male standout is in the detail. One area in which to steer away from the rest of the lace-up shoe sheep is to opt for some shiny slip-ons, like this pair from Brioni. The slightly detailed suede leather trimming around the top of the shoe adds a nice contrast to the patent leather shine below – giving the tuxedo ensemble a nice finishing-off in the footwear department. The red insoles are a snazzy touch, too, showing off a flash of colour to your plus-one as you free your feet after a long night of parading for the paparazzi – slipping off these stylish slip-ons will appear just as cool as sliding them on.
This is your big chance to have fun with your red carpet fashion. Discreet enough to opt for something a little more edgy, cufflinks are another area to branch out a bit. We feel that these Keyhole Swivel Cufflinks from the forever-playful Theo Fennell are a smooth choice. For James Bond wannabes, they definitely fit the bill: an elegant 18ct white gold oval form enveloped by diamonds that can be slid back to reveal a whimsical, hand-painted enamel image of a woman's silhouette hidden inside a keyhole shape. Perfect for causing a little bit of a stir among the stars.
When thinking about watches to accompany the ensemble, much like a woman's bag, it should make a statement but still blend with the suit. We say, if the suit is dark, the strap of the watch should be, too – after all, you don't want to make it too obvious that you are checking the time to see when the screening ends and the real party begins. We were drawn to Chopard's L.U.C. Tourbillon Esprit De Fleurier in 18ct white gold – with the white gold matching our cufflinks and the blued-steel hands giving a subtle complementary nod to our midnight blue dinner suit. The hand-stitched black alligator strap is simple yet chic, while the open-worked dial, Fleurisanne engraving and intricate tourbillon indicate wealth and taste in a stealth manner.
Obviously we are all drawn to different scents, but if spoiled for choice then its best to opt for something classic and clean. We chose a fragrance with kudos: Acqua di Parma Colonia, in existence since 1916 and celebrated as one of Italy's finest eau de colognes. In fact, this particular brand goes hand-in-hand with the wearing of an elegant suit, with Italian tailors being known to hand over the finished made-to-measure masterpieces with a spritz of Acqua di Parma Colonia for added effect. A harmony of notes comprising citrus fruits, lavender, rosemary, verbena and damask rose, combined with warm, woody undertones, makes up the fresh feel of the fragrance as a whole.