Philadelphia’s upcoming social calendar promises some of the city’s premier, must-attend affairs. But with every great event scheduled, comes the exhausting search for an even greater gown. We rounded up five gorgeous dresses from beloved local boutiques to help, whether you RSVP’d to the Red Cross House’s Red Ball or the American Cancer Society’s Hope Gala. And to make the decision even easier, we narrowed in on one of the palette’s boldest tones—fierce, fiery red.
Elizabeth Johns’ couture collection promises nothing short of luxury. With dozens of sought-after designers in stock, the Ardmore boutique is an oasis of high-end evening gowns. This sleek Wayne Clark garment is steeped in elegance, featuring strong, structured shoulders, a slim silhouette and refined crystal detailing. “It's classic yet edgy, with a touch of glam in the Swarovski crystals. And it's the perfect shade of red,” says Salon Manager Lacey Williams. 46 St. James Place, 610.649.8100, elizabethjohns.com
International knitwear designer Paula Hian weaves graceful femininity into each of her designs, and her Amandine dress is an illustration of such refined craftsmanship. “There’s a unique combination of two textures knitted together that are both chic and timeless,” says Hian. Designed herself at a factory in France—as she does with all of her garments—a ruched inset gives texture to the cocktail-length dress, and combines fabrics in a seamless fashion. “I like making timeless material, and capturing the feeling of woven material,” she adds. 160 N. Gulph Road, 610.337.1740, paulahian.com
Chic evening wear emanates from this revered Rittenhouse establishment. With a bold, red ball gown that’ll make any other pale in comparison, you’re guaranteed to look as if you were plucked from the pages of a fairytale. “Made in America by our favorite designers, you can’t beat Tom and Linda Platt for their great color sense,” says Owner David Schwartz. “They have the best red gown perfect to make you shine and showcase your favorite necklace.” A dress that not only wows on its own, but has room for accessorizing? We’re sold. 122 S. 19th St., 215.567.4662, sophycurson.com
Kirna Zabête’s Bryn Mawr boutique delivers an eccentric alternative for any occasion. “Rixo London's Rose Zebra Print Dress is perfect. This silhouette is one of our favorites because it is so flattering and fun,” says Senior E-Commerce Manager Megan Maquera. Details include a v-neck, open triangle back and subtle ruching along the bodice. “The zebra print packs tons of personality, and makes the dress an exciting bold choice for a black tie occasion," adds Maquera. 915 Lancaster Ave., Suite 170, 610.581.7777, kirnazabete.com
Van Cleve Bridal offers a culled compilation of phenomenally posh cocktail and evening dresses at its upscale Paoli location. Amidst the tulle and taffeta is this floral Wayne Clark gown, delivering a red print that goes beyond a monochromatic look. “The floral print of this gown is incredibly feminine and romantic. The lucky woman who slips on this gown will instantly feel special and high fashion,” says Salon Manager Ashley Grape. 1604 E. Lancaster Ave., 610. 647.5055, vanclevebridal.com