Fashion has invited embroidered navies, twinkling turquoises, sequined fuchsias, and austere aubergines to its annual red-and-green Christmas party this year.

So instead of the usual warm glow, the vibe this holiday season is more icy chic. And this cooler-hued mood will likely spill onto the 2016 red carpets, from the Academy Awards to the Academy Ball.

"I've been selling lots of magentas, blues, and purples," said David Schwartz, co-owner of the time-honored Center City women's special-occasion boutique Sophy Curson. "We are seeing it a lot in the details, too: blue fur, blue cuffs, magenta sequins. It looks really good against a lot of women's skin, especially those with pink undertones."

Before your cheeks match Rudolph's fiery nose (I'm talking to you, members of the red-is-the-color-of-Christmas brigade), you can just chill out. Scarlet, marsala, burgundy, and every berry-red are still in demand during the holidays. In fact, Schwartz said, red is still his top-seller of the season.

It's just that those who are tagged best-dressed on Instagram are more likely to be decked out in jewel tones, if for no other reason than the variety they bring. But we're not just talking blues.

Blush - especially in cashmere sweaters and silken blouses - brings a clean sophistication to holiday style. Winter white makes for cozy muffs, and black is sharp in jumpsuits and tuxedos for women. Green is its most trendy in olive and evergreen, rather than deck-the-halls-with-holly green.

"Hunter green has been all over," said North Philly designer Michael Thomas. "It's the one shade we will move easily from festive winter to transitional spring. It's so easily adaptable and very modern right now."

Through the mid-1900s, Americans would wear their Sunday best during the holidays, so the colors worn at parties were as varied as their tastes, said Clare Sauro, curator of the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection.

It wasn't until after World War II and the vast commercialization of Christmas that red and green - the colors most associated with the jolly old elf himself - became the go-to colors for end-of-year festivities. (According to my grandmother, she was among the many women who clamored to buy a pretty Mrs. Claus-inspired red-and-white dress like actresses Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen wore in the 1954 film White Christmas.)

These colors continued their hold on the holidays throughout the second half of the 20th century, even though blue, silver, and white - typically Hanukkah colors - and purple and pinks - the shades of Advent - also are closely associated with this time of year.

"I think this is one of those traditions that is not very old and largely the product of marketing," Sauro said.

Our change in wardrobe hues may reflect other shifts: Although gift-giving is still the hallmark of the holidays, this year, more than ever, people are looking for ways to make the holidays mean more. Some of us are buying gifts that give back to charities. Others would rather give "experiences" or time to loved ones instead of another sweater.

Of course, there are the obvious fashion influences, too: designers and the red carpet.

The spring 2015 collections by lauded evening wear designers Ralph Lauren, Reem Acra, Zac Posen, Monique Lhuillier, and even Tory Burch featured gowns firmly rooted in cobalt.

Only three awards shows into the winter red carpet season, and blacks, blues, and deep purples already are in the fashion spotlight.

In early November, Kellie Pickler stunned in a midnight blue Rubin Singer at the Country Music Awards, and three weeks later, pop singer Hannah Davis sparkled in a silvery blue, long-sleeve Naeem Khan at the American Music Awards.

And on last Sunday's Soul Train Awards, celebrities from reality television star Omarosa to Philly's own Jill Scott and show host Erykah Badu opted for inky onyx over garnet.

Still, silhouettes remain classic, as body-skimming long-sleeve gowns, princess frocks, and mid-calf cocktail dresses are the strongest looks of the year.

"People just want to feel pretty," said Randi Edelman, spokeswoman for Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwyd.

In late October, the specialty retailer transformed one half of its third floor into a 5,000-square-foot special-occasion salon with lines including Lhuillier, Diane von Furstenberg, and Rebecca Taylor.

"Every day is so relaxed with the luxury jeans and sneakers that when it's time to dress up, it's time to dress up," Edelman said.

It is a lacy season, too. When lace returned to the fashion forefront five years ago, it was edgy, more punk rock. Now, lace is more refined. Entire gowns are fashioned from lace, lace sleeves are set into satin bodices, and soft lace makes for alluring allusion tops.

"There is a lot of variety," Schwartz said. "Women can get dressed up and make no apologies."



Special Thanks


Location: The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, which provided the space at 1414 S. Penn Square, 215-851-8000.

Interior design of model units by BJS Designs by Barbara Nipon-Spencer,

Hair: Roxy Brennan, Rittenhouse Spa & Club, Hair by Paul Labrecque, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, 215-790-2500,

Makeup: Ursula Augustine, Ursula's About Phace, 1700 Sansom St., Suite 201, 215-557-1562,

Models: Charissa Fiorelli, Model Management Agency (MMA) in Langhorne.

Assistant Stylist: Mark Anthony Barksdale.

Clothing and Accessories:

Harx Four by Renee Hill, 1209 Locust St., 267-239-0769,;

Macy's, 1300 Market St., 215-241-9000,;

Michael Thomas,,;

Neiman Marcus, King of Prussia Mall, the Plaza, 170 N. Gulph Rd., 610-962-6200,;

Nordstrom, King of Prussia Mall, the Plaza, 190 N. Gulph Rd., 610-265-6111,;

Saks Fifth Avenue, 2 Bala Plaza, Bala Cynwyd, 610-667-1550, www.saksfifthavenue.;

Sophy Curson, 122 S. 19th St., 215-567-4662,;

Swarovski, 1421 Walnut St., 215-563-9374,