11/02/2010 12:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Balmain's Look 22: This Season's It Dress Has Arrived

Sometimes one dress captures the imagination of the entire fashion industry. A couple of months ago, it was Miu Miu's tangerine 1960's shift dress. It was very Mad Men, it was autumnal bright, it was quirky and it simultaneously appeared on three of the top glossies' covers.

And now, for the Christmas season (and yes, I do mean Christmas -- for monthly magazines, the December issues are hitting the newsagents shelves right now) there is a new iconic dress: Balmain's gold deep V minidress, which has so far appeared on SIX covers -- three Vogues, 10, Zeit and Harper's Bazaar.

So what is it about this dress?

Of course, it's gold, so perfect for twinkly Christmas parties. That luxe lame fabric makes it both kitschy-80s sexy-retro and also grown-up and sophisticated.

It works on women of all ages; from the youngest models - Abby Lee Kershaw (23) and Natalia Vodianova (28) - to the supers; Cindy Crawford (44) and Claudia Schiffer (40) and even non-model models - 10 cover star Anna dello Russo (48).

The hourglass cut of the dress is flattering and sexy and that plunging neckline can either be flat-chested flapper-girl demure (Kershaw) or Sophia-Loren-style curvaceous (Crawford). It's also a fashion editor's dream plaything. It can be accentuated with blend-in jewellery, a gold belt or a tough-looking chain necklace, or given a ladylike touch with a prim pearl choker, or simply left to make its own high impact statement.

The sharp shoulders and crumpled foil fabric make "Look 22" distinctively Balmain. The next question? Which of these women wears it best?