Published 29/08/2010 | 05:00
'One of our key looks this season is 'Sixties-kitten beatnik babe'. It features very short dresses, coats and jackets," Annmarie Flood, Alwear CEO, tells me. "It's a look that does look best with bare legs, and that does mean that very confident girls will wear it first. But, when the weather changes and she can wear her opaque tights again, I can see everyone loving this shorter look. And dresses in the autumn are a bit longer than we have been seeing over the summer."
Annmarie and I are in Alwear's head office in Dublin looking through their new collections. There is a playful, upbeat energy about Alwear's looks -- lots of colourful prints in blouses and dresses, and patterns, such as checks, in outerwear. Colour abounds. And, though I won't be getting on-board with the mini, I eagerly await the arrival of their leopard-print swing coat and pussy-bow blouses. They also have a great-looking denim -- Super Stretch -- with a dense weave, so it really holds everything in.
Though unafraid of fashion's grungy and extreme trends, Annmarie has always loved ladylike fashion which has been good for the profile of Alwear's young clientele, helping you become the best-dressed chick in the office. "The Alwear girl always loves colour. She loves pretty prints and feminine details like pussy-bow blouses," Annmarie says. "But skinny jeans, the playsuit, trousers, and the Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties are all in there this season."
A key buy could be the cape coat at €65, or one of their faux shearling pieces with Borg fur, which has that lovely, ultra-soft, fluffy finish. You can be a style hottie and dress in a minidress, or tailored shorts. Or look Seventies cool in Alwear's elegant, fitted-bodice maxi dresses.
"Looks are directional and people like to move into them and move them on. When something comes back you want to make it different, so, while we may be influenced by the Sixties, it won't look the same. The trouser is back, but it is pleated and has turn-ups. Boho is making an appearance this season, but it is more sophisticated and constructed. It has discipline," says Annemarie.
A lot of high-street stores are going for military-inspired dark greens and gothic black this season, so Alwear is a welcome contrast with lots of skin- and hair-flattering colours such as tamarind, red, coral, old gold, soft green, silver, grey, and black. Alwear is also battling to keep style affordable and accessible -- they do sizes 6-18. Coats are €50-90, dresses €30-60, trousers €35-40, knitwear €25-35. Neat.