Tuesday 17 January 2017

Fran & Jane: All woman

Published 04/10/2011 | 11:20

Jacket, €149; skirt, €89,
both Fran & Jane.
Shoes, €109,
Moda in Pelle.
Sunglasses, stylist’s own. All photos: Deirdre Poole
Jacket, €149; skirt, €89, both Fran & Jane. Shoes, €109, Moda in Pelle. Sunglasses, stylist’s own. All photos: Deirdre Poole
Dress, €159; bag, €89, both Fran & Jane. Shoes; sunglasses, both stylist’s own
Belted evening gown, €529; bag, €49, both Fran & Jane. Shoes, €109, Moda in Pelle.
Dress, €229; bag, €59; belt, €49, all Fran & Jane. Sunglasses, stylist’s own
Dress with chain detail, €199, Fran & Jane. Sunglasses; gloves; tights, all stylist’s own
Dress, €229, Fran & Jane. Bag, stylist’s own

At this early point into a new fashion season, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by dominant fashion trends. The choices seem stark: buy into a look you might hate just because it is the principal trend, or be destined to look as if you’re not in touch.

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I believe there is a third way — to dress to feel your best and happiest. Doing so will do more for your appearance, your energy and your contemporary relevance than buying hugely into any high-fashion trend. “I, like a huge amount of women, loved Mad Men. I think that shape and structure is something that all women benefit from,” Fran Nolan, of Fran & Jane, told me.

“There is a definite swing towards a more polished way of dressing again. A more real-woman look. The trashy look is fading. Women are more conscious of their bodies, i.e. not exposing everything — that is so passe. We are about the great dress; it’s figure-flattering and modern. Good fabric, good quality, with a good touch of sex appeal. But subtle.”

Fran is a glamorous, sexy, vital woman. She founded her label, Regine, nearly 30 years ago. Her daughter, Laura, entered the business some years back. Recently, Fran decided to let her old label go in favour of her younger diffusion label, Fran & Jane.

“The Regine customer had aged, and moved into older ranges such as Basler. We felt it was time to reinvent ourselves. We have three age groups around our design table — 20s, 40s and me just entering my 60s,” Fran said. “We wanted to reflect all of us. Our real lives. Our real needs.

“I want to dress nicely in fashionable clothes, but I don’t want to look ridiculous,” Fran added.

“Older women want to keep up, not look like their mothers of old — finished at 40, dressed conservatively, exposing nothing. We try to give women an opportunity to dress fashionably without looking silly.”

The Fran & Jane look is a hit with shapely, discerning TV presenters. Think Lorraine Keane and Lisa Fitzpatrick, while the King’s Road shop has attracted ITV’s Lorraine Kelly, and Daybreak’s Kate Garraway. Also Carole Middleton, who wore Fran & Jane to Ascot this year.

Hot, structured dresses are the anchor garments this season. There is a super-sexy fitted black suit, and this season’s camel coat. But the dresses are the stars with their figure-forming sexy fit, striking zip and panel details, demure skirt lengths and flattering shoulders which emphasise the bust and waist in the best possible way.

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