The real stars of the Strictly ballroom are the gorgeous costumes. Stephanie Smith seeks out some fab-u-lous dresses.
There is no denying the timeless allure of a statement ballgown, even for those of us who can’t manage a simple waltz, let alone a full-on Paso Doble.
Perhaps it’s a reaction to our continuing austerity measures, but oh, how we love to gaze at those lavish sequinned and ruffled creations served up on a Saturday and Sunday night as the brave and trembling contestants (and their professional partners) emerge for the latest knockout round of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.
The programme has coincided, perhaps not coincidentally, with a renewed interest in big, glamorous dressing up for evening. At charity balls and social events, no longer do we see endless line-ups of women, each and every one of whom is wearing an apologetic strappy “cocktail” satin dress.
No, no, indeed. Instead, we see women of all ages and sizes prepared to dress properly for the occasion, in long, extravagant ballgowns that sizzle and sway, just like those of the Strictly contestants.
Julie Trigg, owner of special occasion shop Your Dressing Room, at Central Arcade in Leeds centre, believes Strictly has had a positive influence on eveningwear.
“I think the programme encourages people to dress up and have the confidence to wear glitz and glamour, which was not quite the case several years ago,” she says. “There seemed to be a time when people felt uncomfortable dressing up, but possibly disappointed to have to dress down to conform.”
Of course, we can’t all have access to Strictly’s team of skilled designers, cutters, stitchers and seamstresses who create stunning couture pieces week in, week out.
But, High Street and independent fashion stores are now offering some rather fabulous dresses that would not look out of place on the show’s ballroom floor.
The term “godet”, for example, will be familiar to all who watch the It Takes Two show on BBC2 every weekday night. It refers to the pieces of cloth stitched in a gown’s hem so that it kicks out as the dancer moves. Godets have now made their way into mainstream fashion, so we can all move with our heels peeping out of a flurry of fabric – how fabulous.
You shall go to the ball ... even if you can’t dance a single step.