Tuesday 25 October 2016

Bairbre Power: Mixing the unexpected

When Irish designers spring a surprise

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Heidi's 'Aliza' lace jacket (€525) 'with the 'Annalee' lace skirt, (€425).
Heidi's 'Aliza' lace jacket (€525) 'with the 'Annalee' lace skirt, (€425).
Heidi Higgins' 'Cleo' dress (right) in turquoise (€425).
Heidi Higgins' 'Carlotta' 1950s tea dress in navy and cream (€595).
Roland Mouret 'Paddington' coat.
Mid-sized toffee leather bag with chain.
Valentino Rockstud T-Bar 100 court heels.

I wish the weather would make up its mind! I'm currently nursing a cold after getting soaked, caught unexpectedly in a deluge of hailstones in Galway over Easter. It was all the more annoying because the previous day I had watched the mercury climb to welcome double digits.

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There have been so many temptations to think summer has arrived. This season the fashion collections from Irish designers have vibrated with colour, and surprises too. Take my safari to Galway for example. En route, I broke my journey in Athlone to see what I might find in the Olivia Danielle boutique. The Sonia Peña cream and gold wool coat and dress I got there last autumn has got me out of more fashion corners - it has paid for itself 10 times over.

Checking out the colourful rails, I enquired about the bona fides of a lovely 'Carlotta' 1950s tea dress in navy and cream (€595) with an eye catching dotted lurex jacquard in a generously swinging A-line skirt, with organdy wrap is attached on the back only to be told it was a Heidi Higgins. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I love her tailored dresses that skim the body and, later, I discovered that Heidi's philosophy this season for her 'Love Story' collection was all about "mixing the unexpected"...and she has.

Later that evening, I met someone wearing another Heidi dress that she picked up at Mojo & McCoy, the swish Berkshire boutique owned by Galway gal, Chanelle McCoy who bought a sample of Heidi's collection, carefully selected to suit the racing calendar in the UK. I loved Heidi's 'Aliza' lace jacket (€525), with the 'Annalee' lace skirt, (€425) and the less formal, but equally elegant 'Cleo' dress in turquoise (€425) with its cleverly placed box-pleats creating a slight flare to off-set coloured cuffs and hem. This gem of a dress also comes in coral, peach, red and French navy.

Heidi was one of the early success stories at Create in Brown Thomas, where she is stocked. She has her own boutique at Grattan Street, Portlaoise, and for details of stockists, check out heidihiggins.com

Heidi's dresses were a big hit at Cheltenham and with more exposure on the racing scene in the UK, it can only be a matter of time before she becomes a darling of the racing fraternity there. She's got the kind of elegant sass that the Middleton sisters, Kate and Pippa, just love.


A Colour Affair


I'm amused at how much my latest interiors project has impacted on my current fashion colour palette fixations. I'm channelling neutrals inspired by my well thumbed Farrow & Ball paint chart as I gaze along the store rails checking out an outfit for the Derby at the Curragh in June. I'm a big fan of Valentino's Rockstud shoes and handbags as special treats, and their new turquoise studded leather bags are quite exquisite. The mid-sized toffee leather bag with chain (€1,850, pictured above), is a total wow as is the Roland Mouret 'Paddington' coat (€1,715), which is the epitome of instant, 'thrown-on' glamour. The Valentino Rockstud T-Bar 100 court heels (€720), come in an ice blue patent, ideal for easy care. All three were spotted at Brown Thomas, brownthomas.com

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