Fashion: Holiday heroins
'When you are going on your holidays, you want to be in a good mood. You want to feel happy and confident about yourself," Arnotts buying director Deirdre Devaney says, as we walk through its swim department.
Arnotts swim shop opens this week so the best of their stock has just arrived. I ask Deirdre what it's all about for swimwear this year.
"It's about young and fun and colour," she tells me. "The season is a good mixture of one-pieces and bikinis. Colour blocking is big. Prints are generally very strong on both the ready-to-wear side and swimwear side."
Deirdre says colour blocking is very good if you have issues with an area on your body. As are one-pieces.
"Arnotts is known for one-pieces. People feel a lot more confident buying a one-piece. However, some of the bikinis are great in terms of looking and feeling comfortable. There are tankinis, which are a bit more flattering. We don't have that skimpy-bikini customer. Our customer likes it a bit more glamorous, more feminine but not overly sexy."
Most of Arnotts bikini ranges are mix and match. "Not all women are top and bottom perfect and often we have to buy a bikini as a set, so the fit isn't as we want it. This way, you can get the right fit for you," Deirdre says.
"Also a lot of stores don't go above 36D. Our best selling sizes are from D and DD cup," she explains. Arnotts is always loyal to the fuller figure.
"For some women, confidence in their bodies in swimwear is a big issue", says Deirdre. "A good cover-up is an important part of creating confidence. I certainly feel happier wearing a wrap or a sarong. Buying a beautiful kaftan or sarong can be the best investment we can make to build that confidence."
Zandra Rhodes has designed a gorgeous range of kaftans for Colebrooke by Windsmoor, which are exclusive to Arnotts, and to be found on the ladies floor.
Arnotts stocks the stylish and gorgeous Michael Kors, and Seafolly, and also Miraclesuit, which has superb body shaping ability and styling and is worth the extra penny. Freya, a brilliant lingerie brand for the fuller bust, is now doing great swimwear, while Lisa Charmel, Huit 8 and the quirky Ted Baker are for the younger customer.
If you have had a mastectomy, Arnotts staff have been trained to work with you and they carry Theia, a great new brand by Irish designer Don O'Neill, and Anita lingerie and swimwear.
On the ground floor, you can complete your holiday kit by customising your Havaianas or super-cool espadrilles by Solidos, as well as your Chloe sunnies and quirky Lulu Guinness tote.
"Our vision is that you feel young and confident, irrespective of what size you are," Deirdre says. "And to prove that swimwear can be fun."
Photography by Daniel Holfeld
Styling by Courtney Smith
Fashion edited by Constance Harris