Let it shine: Fee G Collection
When it comes to clothes for events and for summer wear, my criteria are clear: I want to look fabulous and feminine to celebrate and mirror the season -- which is, in essence, all about abundance and radiance. Thankfully, fashion in 2010 has oodles of interesting, form-flattering dresses.
Fee G is a label that caught my eye a few years back and, to my delight, it thrives each season. Designed by Fiona Heaney, it is a label that is about partnership, as Fiona's husband, Don Gormley, plays an important role as the business manager. Fee G has always been a label that's unashamedly about femininity and colour, and for women who are neither Wags, nor obsessed with Sex and the City.
The couple's commitment to Fiona's vision is finally paying off. Fee G is not only selling brilliantly nationwide -- it recently joined the ranks of great Irish labels in the Kilkenny stores -- but it has become hugely popular in Spain, Italy and in the UK. Sales are up by 400 per cent -- inspiring news for all those in design who are struggling with their faith right now.
"We seem to be bucking the trends, for sure," Fiona told me when we met in her Ballymount studio. "I think it is because we are seen to be at a good price-point. For an event, you can buy a dramatic dress and jacket and still have change from €400. People want glamour, and they want quality, and they want it at their price."
Though she loves tailoring and separates, Fiona has always had an affinity with dresses. This season, of the 80 or so pieces in sizes 8-18, only one of them was a skirt. The collection consists of unique coats, short jackets, shrugs, and dresses, dresses, dresses -- be they funky Sixties-style minidresses, Mad Men-style figure-forming numbers, or jacket and dress ensembles in taffeta -- which may sound awful to those of you who lived through Eighties' fashion the first time round, but are fabulous on.
Apart from price and cut, I think the secret of Fee G's success is colour.
Fiona has a feel for colour which reminded me of Lainey Keogh's. Like Lainey, Fiona plays with colour, and she believes clothes should pulse with its energy. For summer 2010, she has favoured brilliant sapphire, coral, and jade, as well as black and cream. In some cases, the garments are treated to rich embellishment, or to subtle fabrication twists such as a metallic print, or a Klimt-inspired printed fabric -- both uniquely designed for Fiona. "There is no recession in this collection," Fiona told me, laughing. Viva FeeG!