Fresh fruit: this season's fad
Photography by Peter Rowen , Styling by Iseult Sheehy, fashion edited by constance harris
In the Fifties, with fabric no longer in short supply, and as a reaction to the war-induced years of deprivation, clothes became voluminous.
And, the more joyful, effervescent and over-the-top the accessory or embellishment that adorned your ensemble could be, the more your sisters would say, "Go for it!", or the equivalent in Fifties parlance. It was a tremendous time for the OTT. So, it is no surprise that if coastal south of France and Naples in the Fifties are fashion's current inspiration, then, naturally, kitsch has to creep in somewhere. But every era has its unique expression.
Today, stylist Iseult Sheehy, whose name you may know from Off The Rails, has given us a contemporary take on this season's fad: fruit. Everyone, from high-end designers such as Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs, to high-street stores such as Topshop and Penneys, is doing the kitschy, fruity thing.
"It's a moment in fashion when it is not taking itself too seriously," Iseult explained, laughing. "I loved the kitschiness of Stella McCartney's prints and Prada's bananas. I think it is a really fun look for summertime, especially for holidays abroad, or for festival time."
Iseult's mother owns The Goddess Room, a brilliant vintage store in Greystones, so it is no surprise that Iseult gravitated to a vintage-inspired shoot -- though it is of this moment.
"Working in a vintage store, you learn so much about shape," she told me. "Modern clothes don't flatter women's shapes as much as they did in the past. It is really interesting how women come into the shop, looking defeated about looking good. Then they try on the right-shaped garment and it lights them up: they see their own beauty."
At my comment that this look appears very young, Iseult responded, "It is young. But there is some really classy stuff out there. The Stella McCartney silk skirt would be age-appropriate to someone who is not afraid to wear interesting prints and colour. All you have to do is tone the nature of it down a bit. If you go with this season's colour-block theme and wear a white or orange top, that will work really well."
I agree with Iseult. Any look can be made age-appropriate if you just pull it back from its extreme stylistic expression. I also think older women can carry 'mad', or statement jewellery; it's a character thing. True style is not about looking young; it's about confidence. This season's fruit theme is all about a lightness of heart; a joy in being alive to be ridiculous.
"Use the accessories with a bit of irony," Iseult advises. "While bright colours are there, embrace them."
American Apparel, 114-116 Grafton St, D2, tel: (01) 670-6936, or see www.americanapparel.net
Brown Thomas Dublin, 88-95 Grafton St D2, tel: (01) 605-6666, or see www.brownthomas.com
Harlequin, 13 Castle Market, D2, tel: (01) 671-0202
Photography by Peter Rowen, see www.peterrowen.com
Assisted by Leo Byrne
Styling by Iseult Sheehy, see www.iseultsheehy.com
Assisted by Ali Kirby
Make-Up by Michelle Kinsella, see www.michellekinsella.com
Model: Teodora Sutra at 1st Option, see www.1stoption.ie