Tuesday 6 December 2016

Mary Grant: A dark structured and edgy collection

Constance Harris

Published 27/09/2011 | 15:02

Felted wool coat, €620;
scarf, €80;
cuffs, €30.
Boots, designer’s own
Felted wool coat, €620; scarf, €80; cuffs, €30. Boots, designer’s own
Two-piece jumper with cowl, €295; skirt, €279; leggings, €125; boot tops, €20. Top, stylist’s own. Boots, designer’s own
Wool jacket, €379; shirt, €295; trousers, €195
Wool waistcoat, €339; three-quarter length tulle skirt, €215; single-layer long tulle skirt, €129. Boots; earrings, both designer’s own

In a fashion scene that can be overly dominated by occasion wear, designers that cater to other aspects of life are not only welcome, they are needed.

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This autumn, Mary Grant has launched a new label, MG 2011, a dramatic departure from her soft, feminine, colourful and comfortable layered look. MG 2011 is a lot darker, more structured and edgier.

For Mary, the new collection has been inspired by the fact that there are times in a woman’s life when she needs to be tougher than she might prefer to be, times when survival is the key. “What I have learnt from my years in fashion is that while talent is important, listening to your customer, resilience and determination are even more important,” she told me. “You have to be able to take the knocks and bounce back very quickly. I have also learnt that you cannot live in the past. You have to keep moving or you will be crushed in the stampede.”

MG 2011 is a limited-edition collection of tailored pieces in fine fabrics with intricate, labour-intensive patterns and bespoke details, all of which contribute to its investmentlevel price point. Jackets and coats are structured: a mix of classic men’s tailoring, utilitarian detail and Gothic, romantic drama. Her skirts are kind of punky, a little bit sexy, again with the Gothic, romantic aspect, and come in various lengths. Customised white shirts, and body-skimming, dark jersey tops and knits are the variables.

“It is very difficult to hold the line on quality, craftsmanship and beautiful fabrics in our current climate,” Mary said. “There is so much competition from products that are mass-produced.” A mass-production-dominated fashion scene is not a good thing. Ultimately the consumer is the loser — of choice and quality. “For me it’s all about acquiring something beautiful you will still love in 10 years’ time,” Mary states. “I design for the woman who loves beautiful things. She is passionate about life and loves things that are unique. She is ageless. She knows that if you love what you are wearing, the world sees you at your best.”

The MG collection will change number with each year — next year’s collection will be called MG 2012, and so on — as the collections evolve.

“We are looking at every piece and asking, ‘How will this fit into people’s existing wardrobes?’ ‘How many ways will this piece work with pieces from previous collections?’” Investment, function and quality are the foundation stones of MG 2011. And a welcome bit of sartorial humour and self-expression, too.

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