Trend report: Va-va-voom velvet

While the thought of velvet may inspire nightmarish images of shiny fabric, we’re here to guide you through it.

Iman Pasha November 06, 2010

As the cold chill of winter sets in, it is hard to fight the urge to just drape ourselves in shawls, this season’s long sweaters and cashmere. The ease of wrapping a shawl makes it far too easy to disregard sensual fabrics and detailing.

Even though minimalist looks dominated the Autumn/Winter 2010 runways, I propose that instead of the usual winter fare, we bedeck ourselves in decadent fabrics and channel Anita Ekberg as Sophia in Fellini’s iconic film, La Dolce Vita.

While the thought of velvet may inspire nightmarish images of shiny fabric in garish colours, we’re here to guide you through it.

Now is the time to create our very own version of La Dolce Vita by investing in pieces which bring out the glamorous goddess within.

Wedding wear:

Tastefully embellished velvet kameezes help one stay chic whilst keeping warm. Opulent doesn’t have to mean overdone. An elegant option is choosing delicate brocade over the heavy, excessively embellished outfits of yesteryear. Pair a delicate silk sari with a embellished velvet blouse for a luxurious wedding look. Take a cue from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who wore a velvet blouse with a Sabyasachi Mukherjee sari to the Cannes Film Festival, or newlyweds Vivek and Priyanka Oberoi who wore velvet outfits to their wedding reception.


Accessorize is bursting with eye-popping pieces to compliment the Dolce Vita style. offers a variety of velvet blazers or step out to Whistles has perfect cocktail dresses.

Adding a bit of embellishment to your wardrobe can be extremely elegant, but beware; attempting to inject your look with bit of va-va-voom is not without its sartorial risks. Avoid losing yourself in a period drama. Stick to a palette of inky black, blues, green, reds and cream.

Looking west:

Collections by designers such as Richard Nicoll, Roland Mouret and Antonio Beradi offer a sophisticated palette of rich autumn hues.

Richard Nicoll

Richard Nicoll brings us some of this season’s most covetable pieces in a rainbow of elegant hues ranging from blue to sienna, to brown to cream and then grey. The rich pickings of chiffon sleeved bustier dresses, burnt orange velvet trousers, silk shirts and full-length, flowing skirts on offer mark out the talented young designer to be waving in a welcome tide of excess, regardless of his contemporaries more restrained collections.

Roland Mouret

Mouret’s artful use of rich fabrics set him apart from his more conservative counterparts. Mouret’s full-length dresses, which range in colour from dusty pink to deep jade, exude sexy sophistication.

Antonio Berardi

Berardi has established himself as the king of tailoring. His signature sexy silhouette is omnipresent throughout the collection but he has added touches of luxury such as velvet panelling, sheer chiffon pieces, jewel-encrusted collars and luxurious furs that had been skillfully shaved into a chevron motif. The designer’s velvet evening dresses, in rich blood red with long sleeves and deep cowl necks that revealed jewelled tattoos across the back, stole the show at Paris Fashion Week

The dress code:

Iman’s Dos

Only wear one statement piece at a time

Try strong black eye-liner instead of minimal makeup

Don’t let your outfit overwhelm you

Invest in a velvet embroidered blouse

Try a velvet kameez with an embellished neckline

Stick to lightweight silk velvets

Iman’s Don’ts

Mismatch statement pieces

Go overboard with make-up


Over-embellish velvet - it detracts from the beauty of the fabric

Choose shiny, nylon-rich fabrics

Be afraid of a full-length hemline, velvet looks amazing when worn long

Iman Pasha is a London-based fashion consultant and fashion journalist. Her website is

Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2010.


Iman Pasha | 12 years ago | Reply Thank you soo much Shaniqua. Glad you enjoy the columns =)
Shaniqua Johnson | 12 years ago | Reply Luv velvet!! When I was growin up in Brooklyn ma muma used to holler at our local like she be on fire. Velvet is one a those material that are timeless and dekadente no matter how old or how young a girl be. Love Iman Pasha, she my homegirl and she be like the stylishist girl I be seeing on the web nowadays. Go Iman!! Keep up the fabuolisty and the good work!!! Shaniqua Laquonda Johnson! :) xx
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