Monday 24 November 2014

Geisha grunge: Lotus blossom and geisha moves to front

Constance Harris

Published 16/06/2014 | 02:30

Kimono, €25, Hoho, Twenty-Six & North. Sequined Top, €45, Mercury Goes Retrograde. Printed Trousers, €8, H&M, Twenty-Six & North. Butterfly pattern socks, €2.50: gladiator sandals, €15, both Penneys. Flower clips, stylist’s own
Kimono, €25, Hoho, Twenty-Six & North. Sequined Top, €45, Mercury Goes Retrograde. Printed Trousers, €8, H&M, Twenty-Six & North. Butterfly pattern socks, €2.50: gladiator sandals, €15, both Penneys. Flower clips, stylist’s own
Dress, €75, Julie Miller, Mercury Goes Retrograde. Frilled socks, €6, Topshop. Elasticated sandals, €3, H&M. Black wing and lace fascinator, €180, Potty But Posh by Aoife Potter-Cogan, Miss Daisy Blue.
Dress, €75, Julie Miller, Mercury Goes Retrograde. Runners, €20, Sketcher’s
Jacket, €20, Giorgio Sant’ Angelo. Silk shirt, €15, Lua, both Twenty-Six & North. Lame trousers, €25, Mercury Goes Retrograde. Flatforms, €17, Penneys. Cream petal hat with green orchids, €200, Potty But Posh by Aoife Potter-Cogan, Miss Daisy Blue.
Blouse, €14: linen wrap skirt, €12, Chinatown, both Twenty-Six & North. Butterfly pattern socks, €2.50: gladiator sandals, €15, both Penneys. Black wing and lace fascinator, €180, Potty But Posh by Aoife Potter-Cogan, Miss Daisy Blue.
Swan kimono, €17. Cape (worn inside out under kimono), €9, Eliza and Ethan. Pants, €13, both Twenty-Six & North. Striped espadrilles, Penneys, €4. White dove wing fascinator, €200, Potty But Posh by Aoife Potter-Cogan, Miss Daisy Blue.

I have been musing in recent weeks on trends, and how they evolve and unfold over seasons, often having a long presence. Who knew, back in 1999, that skinny jeans were never, ever, ever, goddamn it, going away?

Cork fashion stylist, Sarah Corcoran, and Kerry-based Polish photographer Michal Zagorski, who recently won a Vogue Italia photographic competition, are my latest muses on the subject of trends. Sarah, 23, a recent graduate of the Cork College of Commerce Image and Fashion Consultancy course, and with an art-history degree from UCC, was very struck by the oriental influence that she was noticing in street fashion in Cork.

The oriental look is largely due to Prada, who put all things lotus blossom and geisha front-and-centre last summer. I haven't seen this theme since the late 1990s, when Irish designers, such as Allicano (still going strong in Johnson's Place), layered fabric with origami-like construction to dramatic, dreamy effect.

Inspired by Japanese culture, and the fact that the look is at an accessible price point, as elements can be found in vintage and charity stores, as well as the high street, Sarah's styling results in a kind of cyber-geisha-mash that feels very right.

"Neo-geisha is a challenge to do, but also fun. Local designers were very inspirational," Sarah tells me.

"We are trying to do things a little bit differently now in Cork. It has been very conservative for a while, but now it is getting a bit more individual. Young people pick a decade they really like and build their own look around that.

"People are into vintage because it is cheaper. Charity shops, such as Twenty-Six & North, that have a definite 'look', are becoming very big with young people," she says.

I love when fashion becomes 'street'-inspired, driven by youth, art and music, looking to express in a fresh and non-brand way. Jean-Paul Gaultier, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs always pay tribute to street style and music as being important, continuous sources of inspiration for them.

"There is a lot of creativity in art, music and fashion in Cork. There are good places, like the Triskel Arts Centre and The Pavilion, and events like Cork Fashion Week. There is a good music scene, and that's adding to the creation of a more innovative scene," she says.

Sarah's Cork fashion lowdown? Apart from Brown Thomas and Samui for designer wear, see French Church Street for boutiques, and Oliver Plunkett Street for jewellery. Mercury Goes Retrograde in Drawbridge Street, and Brocade & Lime on Cornmarket Street, for vintage and up-cycling designer; Alice Halliday, Jo King, and Angela Beaumont, all designers; while Miss Daisy Blue stocks new milliners and vintage.

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