WATCH: Behind-the-scenes of the IMAGE December fashion editorial

Luxe fabrics, jewel tones and an abundance of embellishment create a party-perfect look for December.


Arriving on set on a blustery, wet October morning, there was a distinct feeling of Christmas in the air. That feeling only grew stronger as stylist Sarah Rickard Lantry unpacked boxes of shimmering sequins, soft-to-touch velvets and decadent dresses in preparation for what was to come.

Twenty-three-year-old Irish-Indonesian model Laura Rakhman-Kidd was already in the hot seat with make-up artist Roy Wong, who was delicately dusting individual pieces of glitter across her top lid; creating a mesmerising, reflective beauty look, enhancing her already alluring eyes. Using a foray of creamy highlighters, Laura's dewy skin popped with vibrancy and a healthy glow. Behind her, hairstylist Michael Leong carefully intertwined fresh-cut roses between strands of hair, creating a type of flower crown that worked beautifully with Laura's glowing complexion.

ICYMI: Editor's Welcome: The December issue of IMAGE Magazine

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Metallic polo by Osman, €225 at Samui, blue velvet jacket by Galvan London, €1,025 at Havana, sequin necklace, €70; pink rabbit bag, €50; both Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores. Sock boots by Alexander McQueen, Brown Thomas, earrings by Mignonne Gavigan, €319 at Loulerie

Metallic polo by Osman, €225 at Samui, blue velvet jacket by Galvan London, €1,025 at Havana, sequin necklace, €70; pink rabbit bag, €50; both Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores. Sock boots by Alexander McQueen, Brown Thomas, earrings by Mignonne Gavigan, €319 at Loulerie

It was important for the team that the model chosen for this December editorial reflected a new generation of Irish women, and of IMAGE readers. Kildare-born, now London-based Laura sees Ireland moving in the right direction. “Each time I return home,” she says, “the place feels a little more progressive. Laura represents an ascending generation that, as President-elect Michael D. Higgins put it in his inauguration speech, "have chosen to be agents of ethical change..... to make the possibilities of hope a reality". Group editor-in-chief Lizzie Gore-Grimes describes more on this in her December issue editor's welcome letter.

Pink velvet jacket, €450; pink velvet trousers, €320; both Masscob; sequin polo MM6 Maison Margiela, €380; all at Beautiful South. Earrings by Philippe Ferrandis, €115; ring by Thot Gioiello, €135; sequin bag by Tom Ford, €2,45; all at Brown Thomas, flat black velvet shoes by Kurt Geiger, €150 at Arnotts, black feather jacket by Paula Ka, €1,845 at Samui.

Pink velvet jacket, €450; pink velvet trousers, €320; both Masscob; sequin polo MM6 Maison Margiela, €380; all at Beautiful South. Earrings by Philippe Ferrandis, €115; ring by Thot Gioiello, €135; sequin bag by Tom Ford, €2,45; all at Brown Thomas, flat black velvet shoes by Kurt Geiger, €150 at Arnotts, black feather jacket by Paula Ka, €1,845 at Samui.

Christmas this year is casual day tops encrusted with gold foil, quilted bumbags with light-catching studs and chandelier earrings that demand to be worn with a statement lip. This Christmas, let sumptuous velvet carry you through busy days and evening soirées. When accessorising, a faux fur collar adds an unexpected punch of glamour, a simple band of diamonds give flat pumps a new edge and while an embellished hood is not for wallflowers, it is the perfect pairing over party-wear.

The crème de la crème of the shoot was, for me, a spectacularly sequinned and sheer dress from River Island that, when layered over shimmering flares from Zara and paired with an oversized brimmed hat by Anthony Peto, transformed into something totally spectacular. It has to be seen to be believed. This pair of accordion, full-length gloves from Irish designer Paula Rowan, below, are equally mesmerising, whether you choose to wear them with a glistening gown at Christmas or under the perfect faux fur coat.

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Feather trim dress by Caroline Kilkenny, €324 at Arnotts, limited edition Lola accordion sleeve shoulder length glove, €2,800 at Paula Rowan, embellished hood by conscious collection, €79.99 at H&M, white floral earrings by Petusa, €185, silver conscious clutch by Paula Ka, €269; both at Emporium Kalu.

Feather trim dress by Caroline Kilkenny, €324 at Arnotts, limited edition Lola accordion sleeve shoulder length glove, €2,800 at Paula Rowan, embellished hood by conscious collection, €79.99 at H&M, white floral earrings by Petusa, €185, silver conscious clutch by Paula Ka, €269; both at Emporium Kalu.

Photographed by Barry McCall. Post-production by Dylan Madden. Styled by Sarah Rickard Lantry, assisted by Shaylyn Gilheaney,  Megan Fox and Ellen Bird. Make-up by Roy Wong using MAC. Nails by Pamela Laird using Sally Hansen. Hair by Michael Leong, with special thanks to Mark at The Garden for the flowers. Videography by Niamh O'Donoghue. To see the full editorial, pick up your copy of the IMAGE December issue. On shelves now.

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