Monochrome set on Arnotts' fashion floor
Until several years ago, Independent News & Media was based in Middle Abbey Street. Arnotts was our next-door neighbour, and I think I can safely state that the female staff (and probably many of the men, too) of Independent House knew every square inch of the store, searching, as all working women do, for the perfect fashionable, yet practical garb.
Old habits die hard. I ambled around Arnotts last week and the air of freshness on its fashion floor lifted my soul. The colours in the collections were bright and optimistic and spring-like. There was new direction in shapes, but it was obvious they were comfortable clothes to wear. One look that really struck me was monochrome; black and white, or black and cream - be it in pattern, print or styling. I thought it oh-so elegant.
"Our customer is very feminine and the trends this season are too, so she is going to be very happy," Arnotts fashion and beauty director, Deirdre Devaney, tells me. "There is a lot of news this season; romanticism, 1970s, floral prints, underwear as outerwear, softer suiting, separates. Layering this season is all about femininity and making the look a little softer.
"Length is a key feature of the season. If you are wearing the high-waisted look, such as in the paper-bag trouser, you can wear it with a cropped top and you don't have to be 20 to wear it. There is volume on tops and a lot of sleeves, but there are other options that make it easier to wear. Just as there are ways to expose some flesh according to trends, but to do it more comfortably, such as in the Raoul top with the cut-out shoulders."
On Arnotts' fashion floor, just arrived are Goat (loved, as we know, by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), M Missoni, Raoul, Tara Jarmon, BCBG Max Azria, Marella, Strenesse, Pinko, 2nd Day, House of Dagmar, Polo Ralph Lauren, Les Cents Ciel and Emma Manley. There's also L'Orla by Orla Kiely, the Dublin designer's new collection with UK uber-stylist Leith Clark.
Arnotts' second floor now includes Irish labels Helen McAlinden, Caroline Kilkenny, Aideen Bodkin and Fee G, alongside brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, NYD jeans and so on.
"We in Arnotts are obsessed with service. I think this season is amazing and that it is quite a move on from the trends of last year," Deirdre says. "But I also know some people will need support and encouragement. All our staff are trained on the season and they and the personal shoppers will help people with the new looks.
"I think it is an interesting season, there is so much on offer for customers to experiment with," Deirdre concludes. "I feel there is scope for individuality and versatility. That head-to-toe obvious look is gone. Now people are looking for looks that are more individual to them."
Photography by Eilish McCormick
Styling by Sinead Keenan
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
Sunday Indo Life Magazine