Saturday 22 October 2016

Bairbre Power: an elegant nod to the 1950s

Fee G's Fiona Heaney's full-skirted dresses carry a swish of Dior nostalgia

Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30

Fee G circular blue skirt, €210, worn with cream roll-neck top, €128. Photo: Eilish McCormick
Fee G circular blue skirt, €210, worn with cream roll-neck top, €128. Photo: Eilish McCormick
Monochrome dress with satin obi belt and full cream skirt, €254
Black dress with beaded Peter Pan collar, €232
Chupi's jewellery
Juvi Antibes Collection

After two international fashion weeks in New York and London over 10 busy days, my brain is currently wired for S/S16 loveliness. However, as the weather changed this week, I truly moved into A/W15 as we brought the best of Irish fashion to the Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska.

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I can't say I was surprised when the biggest reaction was to the full-skirted frocks designed by Fiona Heaney from Fee G, in particular, the monochrome dress (photographed by Eilish McCormick).

Fiona's take on the big skirt with pockets proved so popular she actioned a repeat run which arrives into Kilkenny and other stores next month. Whatever about the colour and fabrics, it's the shape that seduces because it is so darn forgiving and hides a multitude in such an elegant way. Fiona's nod to the 1950s reminded me of Carmel Snow, the legendary fashion writer originally from Dalkey, Co Dublin, who edited the American edition of Harper's Bazaar from 1934-1958.

In post-war Paris, Carmel was so smitten by Christian Dior's silhouette with volume yet cinched-in waists, she famously wrote: "It's quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look."

And so the Dubliner was responsible in February 1947, for dubbing the style the 'New Look'. Fast-forward to September 2015 and I found myself discussing Fiona Heaney's take on the New Look in New York after she took part in the Ireland Fashion Showcase.

Fiona - who is also responsible for the Luke Lovely range - explained how her A/W15 Fee G collection was a nod to this Dior era, with nipped-in waists, full skirts and floral prints.

"The collection's silhouettes celebrate the hourglass figure with the return of an emphasis on the waist, with flirty, full skirts. For our Irish customer, the silhouettes this season are easier to wear and are more forgiving than tailored shapes. The fuller skirt shape and vintage-feel silky tops have received a great reaction from the customer. I've used the most luxurious virgin wool for our wrap coat in sumptuous shades of blue and rich red and I don't mind it getting colder so I can wear it," said Fiona.

The collection also embraces bold prints, bright pops of colour juxtaposed with graphic animal patterns and neutrals with hints of metallic gold and flashes of bordeaux, red, navy, and blues. Watch out for a capsule of party dresses in fun prints and poppy red, perfect for the party season.


Kilkenny's Irish craft & Design Week

The annual Kilkenny shops' Irish Craft & Design Week takes place from October 5-11, showcasing the finest in domestic creativity. The nationwide campaign has become a popular fixture on the Irish calendar because it honours home-grown talent like Chupi's jewellery and brings engagement between customers and the designers we love to wear and feature in our homes.

A series of designers will be in-store that week, including husband and wife duo Julie Danz and Vincent Tynan, who run Juvi (Juvi Antibes Collection). The couple will be in Kilkenny's Nassau Street, Dublin store on Wednesday, October 7 from 3.30-7pm. New for A/W15, Julie and Vincent are casting tiny stars in sterling silver, and plating with layers of 24-carat gold and rose gold inspired by a trip to a famous stargazing spot in Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry. Prices for Juvi's Shooting Star collection start from €45. INFO: For more information on the Craft & Design Week, see

Irish Independent

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