Top English brands have their eyes trained on the Irish market for fashion growth.
Warehouse consider the Irish market so important, during the height of the Celtic Tiger, they created a special range of 'going out ' embellished frocks for Ireland because the Irish customer was considered to be more 'dressy' than her English counterpart.
Contemporary fashions are far less in your face, more toned down, pared back and the silhouette story has toppled embellishment as a fashion priority.
This season, Warehouse travelled to Ireland to do an exclusive shoot on the streets of Dublin, using Irish models and Dublin stylist Aisling Farinella to showcase their Spring Summer 2014 designs which are strong on shape, colour and fabrication.
Dive into fashion is good advice because neoprene, the stretchy fabric found in scuba suits is everywhere, from three-quarter length coats, dresses, tops to flirty skirts.
A really versatile fabric, neoprene is brilliant at holding its shape and it was an ideal choice for this round neck, cocoon coat photographed on the steps of Powerscourt Townhouse. A perfect weight for spring, ideal for travelling because its doesn't crease, the coat costs €120 and makes a strong statement due to its flattering structure and powerful colour.
Carrie Anne is pictured at the Warehouse SS14 launch wearing blue coat €120, green skirt €90, stripy lace tee €39, sunglasses €21 and bag €36. Photo: Anthony Woods
The Warehouse creative team in Shoreditch, east London, did a particularly high end job of a flared neoprene skirt (€70) which was heat raised along the hemline and the pattern gives the effect of super expensive tooled leather. Definitely a good investment buy.
Carrie Anne is pictured at the Warehouse SS14 launch wearing embellished shoulder lace top €50, lace pencil skirt €72, navy raw edge biker jacket €165 and green clutch, €39. Photo Anthony Woods
The new Warehouse collection offers a wide selection of skirts to suit all shapes and also every time of the time. There's contoured if you like a sleek pencil shape for workwear, midi if you prefer to hide your knees, shirt pelmet styles if you want to show off your pins, zipped wrapped asymmetric shapes if you prefer less conventional, more architectural lines. And then there's the flip. Watch out for the flippy hemlines which literally flip out above the knee and turn a plain panel skirt or dress into something more fun. Guaranteed to draw attention to your legs.
The one skirt style guaranteed to draw mixed reaction is the culotte, seen her in pleated cream and costing €60. What is it about culottes that men hate so much? They certainly give out about them. Could it be that memories of mens culottes are embedded in their DNA ?
Georgia May is pictured at the Warehouse SS14 launch wearing cream crop tee €50, pleated culottes €60, herringbone coat €101, silver necklace €13 and black clutch €36 from the new collection. Photo: Anthony Woods
King Louis XVI was a keen fan of culottes or knee britches, but the revolutionaries who brought down his reign, and claimed his head, were called 'sans-culottes' and swiftly disposed the sartorial style of the aristocrats.
When the boundary pushing French designer Paul Poiret invented culottes and harem pants for women in 1903, they caused riots and women were even arrested for wearing them. Sometimes I think women almost make a point of wearing culottes in sheer defiance at the criticism they garner from the fashion police.
The cream ones pictured here look good and have that handy 'dress up, dress down' quality. They are equally good with a top and pearls or edgy with platform trainers and cropped jacket. However, the semi lining which runs only half way down the leg is unfortunate.