Thursday 23 March 2017

Daisy days: Some upbeat optimism

Photography by Johnny Savage, Styled by Angela Scanlon and Fashion Edited by Constance Harris

Constance Harris

Dress, €120, Daisy May.
Sandals, €94, River Island.
Hat, €5, Penneys.
Pearl ring, €12, Oasis
Dress, €120, Daisy May. Sandals, €94, River Island. Hat, €5, Penneys. Pearl ring, €12, Oasis
Summer coat, €180; dress (worn underneath), €120, both Daisy May. Belt, €19.95, Zara
Dress, €120, Daisy May. Shoes, €74; socks, €6, both River Island
Dress, €120, Daisy May. Earrings, €12.50, Topshop
Dress, €120, Daisy May. Wedges, €99, Topshop. Bag, €25.95, Zara
Coat, €180; dress, €120, both Daisy May

'I have always adored fashion. I am inspired by everything," Karen Burke, the designer behind the new Irish label Daisy May, enthusiastically told me. "I study what my friends are wearing, what the celebs are wearing, TV shows -- even Hello! It's all an inspiration." Karen, I am guessing, never pushes the off button when it comes to fashion.

"I think affordability and value are hugely important. We still want to have fun, go to weddings and parties, and treat each one as the special occasion it is," Karen pointed out. "But if you have six or seven events coming up, can you really afford to keep buying?

"But -- and it has happened to me -- if you buy at high-street level, the chances of you being at a wedding in the same garment as someone else do get higher."

With Daisy May, Karen and partner Gerard Burke decided to create a collection that feels designer and directional, but coming in at an accessible price. Before creating Daisy May, Karen was head design director for Styletex, an Irish design firm that does a huge amount of work for the British high street.

Daisy May, like a lot of Irish design and fashion businesses, is taking creative risks, despite the potentially dampening times. Traditionally, retailers would tell me, "Oh, Irish women don't wear yellow or green." Yet, Daisy May features the most fabulous sunflower yellow and jade green in its collection, and they are the sell-out colours.

"I don't see the collection as being about a particular age -- rather, it's about a feeling. I think it feels upbeat and optimistic," Karen says. "My niece, who is going to her debs, is wearing our coral maxi-dress, and she looks sensational in it. And my mother has opted for some pieces, too. I think women shop everywhere now. The trick is that they love it -- and they can afford it."

The range is available in boutiques nationwide. When I was in Clerys recently, Daisy May's vibrant colour and strong styling was like a ray of sunshine on the shop's first floor.

The Daisy May silhouette for summer 2011 ranges from Sixties-inspired, A-line dresses in plain fabrics with funky embellished trims, or bold buttons, to fitted Mad Men-esque dresses in gorgeous embossed fabrics, to sumptuous coats, jackets and cute little skirts in D&G-esque floral fabrics.

"There are nods within the collection to designers I love," she says. "I admire Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. They have long been my icons, so yes, you will see influences. But I think that is to the good."

I do too.

The Daisy May label is available in Clerys and from good boutiques nationwide. For nationwide stockists, tel: (01) 429-5709

Photography by Johnny Savage, see www.johnnysavage.com

Assisted by Philip White

Styled by Angela Scanlon, see www.angelascanlon.com

Assisted by Linda Conway

Make-up by Kate O’Reilly using Mac, see www.kateoreillymakeup.com

Hair by Maurice Flynn, see www.mauriceflynn.net

With special thanks to Liam in The Phoenix Park Hotel, see www.dublinguesthouse.com

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