Doe-eyed Diana Matsur is a young model fresh from post-Soviet Bellarus. Barely speaking English, let alone French, here she was on photographed her first Paris haute couture season casting circuit. Arriving on set in her T-shirt and shorts, she was the very vision of the girl-next-door. Then, when she put on that tulle dress, there she was, on the romantic streets of St Germain, transformed. She’d pulled it off an instant Cinderella act.
Above: model wears Alexander Arutyunov dress and Tibi bodysuit.
While the runways of haute couture week are all about such fairytale transformations, the professional woman is expected of nothing less than a Cinderella act on a weekly, maybe bi-weekly, basis. Dressed in the sombre, matte shades of her office pant suits by day, she is to emerge from the sliding glass doors in equal parts femme fatale and gentlewoman – implicitly sexy and effortlessly put together.
Above: model wears Zadig & Voltaire top, Romance Was Born dress, Marine Serre tights.
Most of us secretly want to walk into the work party and have co-workers and friends jaw-drop, incredulously asking themselves, “is that Jan?”. But a basic Cinderella act is not as acrobatic as all that. Almost any tailored ensemble with a fitted silhouette will go from day to night and back again – think the shift dress, skinny pantsuit, or blazer. For the finishing touch, pop on those statement earrings in your desk drawer, and change into the black pumps next to your seat, faithfully at the ready for just such occasions. Formal and feminine are almost synonymous: a cinched waist, tapered leg, and pointed toe. Voila!
Above: model wears Stand Official jacket, stockings as belt, Tibi shoes.
But this routine does not a true Cinderella act make. If the purpose was simply to hit the minimum requirement of appropriately dressed, then we can get by with a wardrobe of one indistinguishable black mass of various iterations of the LBD.
Above: model wears Toni Maticevski top, Marine Serre tights, By Far sandals.
Is transformation relegated to the exclusive domain of the red carpet beings of the Oscars and the Met Gala? But of course, we too, dream. Let us assume that once in a while, the after work drinks outfit switcheroo is taken out of the equation. What would you wear? Now you’re in the realm of the high-gloss metallics, diaphanous chiffons and the parties, well and truly, in the back. It’s the moment to find your nocturnal alter ego.
Above: model wears Toni Maticevski dress, Alighieri earrings, Jimmy Choo shoes.
Have a gown or two in your arsenal with clouds of tulle, gravity-defying ruffles, or those side splits that show off just enough. But don’t be afraid to deal in separates that encroach into your daytime repertoire. Break the rules. Think a light refracting going out top with your fitted office pants and a barely-there sandal. Layer a sheer dress over a collared shirt. Show off those curves in a pair of slick biker shorts. Wielding the element of surprise, go forth and change their minds forever in your own Cinderella act.
Above: model wears Amédée Paris scarf, Alain Mikli sunglasses, Zadig & Voltaire top, Amiri jeans, Jerome Dreyfuss bag, Balenciaga shoes.
Photographed by Jiawa Liu, styled by Eugenia Book, production assisted by Jinjiibadam Gankhuu, hair and make-up by Martina Gentili.
This is a blog by Jiawa Liu of Beige Renegade. Visit the blog here, or see Jiawa’s Instagram here.
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