Sunday 4 December 2016

Karen Millen collection: All woman

Constance Harris

Published 02/05/2010 | 05:00

Fitted leather biker jacket, €399; crepe halterneck dress, €175; sandals, €175. Tights, stylist's own
Fitted leather biker jacket, €399; crepe halterneck dress, €175; sandals, €175. Tights, stylist's own
Geometric fitted dress, €215
Sequinned cropped jacket, €235; stretch suede and fabric dress with metallic finish, €499; sandals, €199. Tights, stylist's own.
Fitted taffeta trench coat, €325; fitted satin dress with lace shoulder and collar detail, €235; sandals, €175; diamante-encrusted clutch bag, €325. Tights, stylist's own
Fitted satin dress with lace shoulder and collar detail, €235; diamante-encrusted clutch bag, €325

Over the past two to three years, the Karen Millen design stamp has been crafting a radical shift, both in attitude and customer. Edgy, kick-ass, couture, mature, sophisticated and cool are the adjectives this move has evoked.

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Karen Millen's spring/summer 2010 collection so impressed me, I sought out creative director Gemma Metheringham to compliment her and her team. This collection is striking and original, featuring incredible, high-end fabrics and a stunning cut: yet, the essential Karen Millen price point is maintained.

Metheringham has worked hard to move the brand from its D&G-influenced roots of the Nineties -- which is where it all started with Karen Millen -- to reflect the international-fashion-literate, savvy, modern women we are now.

"Women all over the world are the same now. Regardless of whether they live in Dubai or Paris or Dublin, they know international fashion, they know quality, they know what they want," Metheringham told me. "We in Karen Millen have long felt we could do more and wanted to take it to the next level. Now we are doing it."

And we are noticing it. Retail insiders tell me that many formerly big spenders on designer wear are moving allegiance to discerning, design-led, medium-priced brands such as Karen Millen.

Also, Karen Millen has deliberately stuck to its small-run, limited-edition ethos, so the market is never saturated with its unique looks.

Enthused as I was by the collection, I wanted to do a fashion shoot for LIFE that reflected the changes in the label and I wanted a real woman, and not an androgynous model, to illustrate it. Enter Karen Koster, anchorwoman for TV3's Xpose, and new brand ambassador for Karen Millen.

Koster is an impressive young woman. With a degree in English Literature and French from Trinity College, she is hard-working and passionate about her job. "I have always been a fan of Karen Millen. I have always thought they are really glamorous clothes," Koster told me. "They are also a bit edgy and rock chick-y which ties in with Xpose and its look."

Koster has a raw, demanding energy which, coupled with the Karen Millen collection's edginess, inspired our La Femme Nikita homage. She raves about Karen Millen clothes for their transformative powers: "The fit is incredible. I will wear Karen Millen and feel like I have gone on a diet. I feel slimmer in their clothes than I do in other labels. They make you look like a woman."

Sunday Independent

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