Bairbre Power: Break out summer's colours
Consign black to the back of the wardrobe - it's time to get out your happy hues
It's time to ditch black for daytime - whatever about keeping it for evening wear, our summer wardrobes deserve an injection of colour. If you're nervous about stepping away from the black safety net, I always recommend starting with navy and then moving through striking, easy-to-accessorise block colours such as cream and that flattering pinkish-peach hue that's coming through so big this season.
Trust me, once you start embracing colour, it can only be a matter of time before you become more adventurous and soon you'll be in the mood for something seriously graphic - like Helen Steele's new SS17 collection, which features über-colourful prints in a soothing silk crepe.
The clever artist/designer has made them up in a variety of shapes, to suit all figures. Her long-sleeved Charlie dress (€750) has proved one of the most popular to date and is a secret weapon in the wardrobe of lots of women I know. The winning factor is the easy-wear qualities of this dropped-waist silhouette, which suits women of all shapes. And there is an added confidence that comes with a loose dress that works as you hover between sizes. Hopefully, all that walking we're doing, now that there's a stretch in the evening, will pay off... on the summer waistline!
In a new move this season, Helen has introduced a slightly fitted dress called SOF - named after her sister - but which has also become known as SOS, says Helen, because it works for all occasions. When Amy Huberman wore it in the Hassan print (pictured above, left), Helen was besieged with enquiries. The print was inspired by the Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj, while Helen's other prints were inspired by her hours driving around Ireland.
"I spend a lot of time on the road, driving from Dublin to my home in Co Monaghan, and the prints are actually all based on traffic lights, road markings and flowers by the side of the road. It is a lot more graphic than before and, this season, I decided to do a couple of mini dresses. I still do the Souk dress (€550, above right), which is a staple that I've been doing since day one, and it sells really well in the Middle East. It is really popular for the larger women or girl - it acts like a wind tunnel and air can circulate the body in warmer climates. I love it because it's a free and easy dress that you can just throw on."
Also new this season is Helen's mac in a Gunner print, which features pink roses, rosary beads and small guns in a collage. She was inspired to do the print 12 months ago after seeing photos of the 1916 Rising women wearing rain macs.
Anthony Peto, chapelier à Paris, has added a delightul French vibe to the Irish millinery scene and his latest collection is packed with colourful, quirky designs with a twist. The wedding and racing season has certainly kicked in, and I confess to having a new hat focus at the moment as I'm judging the Bollinger Best Dressed competiton at Punchestown next Friday. Chatting with Anthony in his Dublin store, he told me how his new collection was mostly influenced by the Italian Renaissance. His aim is to make hats that are "both ethereal and modern" and he cleverly uses silk flowers to create shapes, while his colour palette runs across pinks, purples and blues. My favourites are his purple rose headpiece, €180 (above); Cruise navy straw hat with cream ribbon, €220, and Tower of Pisa tilted topper, €220 (below). buy it: All available from his store at 14 South Anne Street, Dublin 2, (01) 635 9977, anthonypeto.com
Stella & Dot's new collection is total jewellery-crush country, especially the Pari chandelier earrings, €114, and the Florence tiered necklace, €310.
Buy from stelladot.eu or through one of the 300 independent Stella & Dot stylists around the country