When Kate Winslet took to the red carpet earlier this month at the Venice Film Festival in a sporty but sexy dress, jaws dropped over her va-va-voom curves. Though the Oscar winner has never been shy about embracing her voluptuous figure, her exaggerated hourglass form was actually courtesy of her dress — a color-blocked Bicolour Octavia number by Stella McCartney.
“It’s like retouching your body with a frock,” says celebrity stylist June Ambrose of the sheath, which retails for $1,595. The figure-flattering number — one of the “optical illusion” dresses from the designer’s fall collection — focuses the eye with a contoured front panel while its black sides seem to disappear, creating a deceptively smaller waistline.
CREATE YOUR OWN ILLUSION:
Can’t get your hands on an “optical illusion” dress? Here are four principles to learn from the magical frock — and employ in your own wardrobe.
* “Layer your dark on the outside and wear your bold colors inside, to get that illusion of shading. Cinch a thin sweater with a dark-colored belt,” says stylist June Ambrose.
* To create a slimming panel on the torso, Ambrose suggests using a scarf. “Lay it along the side of the body, drape it over the shoulder and cinch it with a subtle belt,” she says.
* Look for strong fabrics such as stretch polyester, heavy jersey or neoprene. “These fabrics will create that snug effect,” says Ambrose. “And neoprene is the new leather. Plus, unlike leather, it retracts. Leather stretches.”
* “To maximize a longer, leaner silhouette, vertically challenged women should have the dress hit just above the knee.
If you’re taller, let the dress stop just below the knee,” Ambrose says.