Peruzzi: Dolce Vita
Photography by German Collins, styling by Barbara Stack, fashion edited by Constance Harris
Peruzzi is an Irish label that constantly takes me by surprise. One season I think it has nothing for me, then another I haven't enough money to cover all the pieces I want.
A Peruzzi linen dress from the summer just gone had women going slack-jawed in admiration when I told them the modest price. The Peruzzi price point is excellent. A €500 spend goes far with this label -- getting you several striking, good-quality pieces, including a coat, and probably two outfits to wear with it.
The brainchild of Marc O'Rourke -- a third-generation fashion wholesaler well known for selling Steilmann -- and his partner in the label, Linda McDermott, Peruzzi is 13 years old. The past three years, however, have seen the label's profile rise. I put that down to a successful international export trade, and Marc and Linda's confidence and courage. "We are absolutely not afraid of change," laughs Linda in their showroom in Fashion City, Ballyfermot. "Change is good. Exciting."
An Irish concept, Peruzzi is designed by Marc and Linda in consultation with a team in Italy, where more than 95 per cent of the range is produced. "From fabric to cut and finish, it has that Italian signature," says Marc. "It also means we are not trading in Asia and all the issues with that -- air miles, environmental issues, not being able to constantly supervise production standards and labour."
Peruzzi's autumn collection, which comes in sizes 10-18, is full of visual interest and detail. There is a wide range of separates, trousers, and dresses, which range from mid-thigh to knee length, many featuring embellishments, fabric twists and optical illusions.
The label's coats are strikingly individual, and often come in natural-fibre mixes -- "because they wear better," says Linda. Comfort is key, with some tops and shirts featuring stretch backs for ease of movement. "While the fashion statement is to wear tights with dresses, many women still love their leggings. Ours are good because they feature a fabric that sucks you in," says Linda. "Another staple is 'The Gozunder' -- a fine-mesh top to wear under all those dresses that reveal a bit too much for comfort!"
While in their showroom, I met retailers from John Galvin in Tullamore, to Quills of Cork and Kerry, to Mary Magee of Boyle. Peruzzi has captured the fancy of Irish women, as well as Swedes, Canadians and Russians.
"From start to finish, it is a pleasure to work on it," Linda told me, and I can well believe it. Peruzzi is positively moreish.