ATTIC fashion hunters, take note. In order to uncover vintage labels, keep an eye out for two words: Sybil Connolly.
Ireland's first couturier dressed everyone from Jackie Kennedy to Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor and she is now regarded as "more valuable than vintage Dior", according to a leading vintage collector.
"Sybil Connolly is much more collectable and more valuable than vintage Dior, believe it or not, and that's because there are so few of her pieces of to be found now," said Aine Corcoran at the Vintage Fashion & Decor fair at Dublin's Burlington Hotel yesterday.
"Most of Sybil Connolly's exquisite pieces are in private collections or museums so if you find one, it is truly fashion gold," said Aine from Blackrock, Co Louth, whose online couture business, aftersybil.com, was one of 70 businesses showing at the fair organised by Joan Murray.
Aine, a former model, points to a big appreciation of the value of vintage.
"It is like antique collecting, pieces hold their value and with more and more people melting down gold jewellery for cash, it is harder to find quality pieces, so they will go up in value," she said.
The whole love affair with all things vintage is particularly evident in the wedding sector.
Not only are brides sourcing unique, couture dresses but they are going to companies like Betty Stuart at Lulubelle Vintage to rent china cups and dinner plates.
Retro-style iced cupcakes with pearls and cameo brooches are giving the traditional fruit cake and Celtic Tiger chocolate fountain a run for their money.
Hairdresser Joyce Clarke Henry caters for brides who want to emulate iconic wedding looks like Grace Kelly's in Monaco half a century ago.
"The 1920s is huge now because of 'The Great Gatsby' movie but a lot of girls cannot pass the wartime victory rolls for their hair and I've also had Veronica Lake brides," said Joyce, who created the 1930s finger waves for model Ellie Connolly (pictured) wearing a 1930s teal crepe dress from aftersybil.com.