Friday 9 December 2016

Dress-tination - designers find inspiration from exotic destinations

Published 03/04/2016 | 02:30

From left, Lucinda hanky hem dress, €88 and placement print maxi, €122, from the Oasis V&A collection
From left, Lucinda hanky hem dress, €88 and placement print maxi, €122, from the Oasis V&A collection
Charlotte print bardot , €74
Doota shirt dress, €71
One-shoulder ruffle dress, €62, from Oasis V&A collection
Harriet print ruffle dress, €51

When I sit down to interview designers, I never fail to be intrigued by where they find their inspiration. John Rocha, my all-time favourite Irish fashion designer, told me how he often was inspired by colours and the aesthetic when he went fishing in exotic places like Patagonia.

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This season, Paul Costelloe dreamt up his latest Warrior Woman collection, shown at London Fashion Week, after seeing a movie on a flight to Vietnam.

The look-back-in-time approach and reflecting on styles, silhouettes and fabrics from yesteryear always triggers great results too.

This season, the high-street brand Oasis have come up with a thoroughly feminine collection of 10 dresses in some seriously gorg prints based on ceramic patterns they found at the V&A Museum in London's South Kensington. This is their second year going back to that rich source. Last summer, they manufactured two capsule collections based on 11 botanical prints from the 18th and 19th century, and this season, the Oasis print team were inspired by embroidered kimonos and head-turning ceramics including decorative plates, vases, cups and saucers.

Those rich colours inspired by gilded china cups painted in cobalt blue and enamels (the kind so many couples have been collecting for their wedding parties and gifts of home-made candles) have sparked some beautiful colours. The fact that there are so many blues in there means that the dresses, in various fabrics, all go terrificly well with a denim jacket, so you can toughen up the girly look as required.

The shapes are beyond cute - like the elegant, one-shouldered ruffle dress, ideal for occasion wear like a day at the races - but I must confess, the 70s' rock chic in me lusts after those floaty, romantic shapes, especially the Lucinda dress with the dipped, hanky hem skirt.

Spotting the dresses at the recent Oasis SS16 press day in Dublin, I decided to go discover the backstory, and Daisy Spurrier, the Oasis print manager, told me how exciting it was to recreate the ceramic patterns on to dresses and give them a whole new lease of life.

The placement print maxi with its patchwork effect is my absolute favourite and, like the one-shouldered dress, it was inspired by Japanese kimonos and a porcelain plate. The prints in the Lucinda hanky hem dress were inspired by three different ceramic plates, as was the Charlotte print bardot dress, a perfect blend of modernity-meets-nostalgia with its off-the-shoulder neckline and olde worlde prints.

@bairbrepower

Irish Independent

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