Monday 20 November 2017

A past master at chic, unique vintage style

Vintage French sailor top, skirt by
Yamamoto. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Vintage French sailor top, skirt by Yamamoto. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Joanna Kiernan

Joanna Kiernan

Her French heritage and a love of all things old inspire boutique-owner Veronique Quinn's look, writes Joanna Kiernan

FACT FILE

'I would describe my personal style as eclectic. It's a mix of everything that comes into the mood of my day," Veronique Quinn, owner of LULU Vintage Store in Monkstown, Co Dublin, tells me.

"There are a few rules in fashion," she adds, "but there is also breaking those rules. It's the balancing act of both, you know?"

Veronique strikes me as the type that treads this fashion tightrope with great enthusiasm, and her soft French accent adds weight to her role as an ambassador of vintage.

Irish women, I tell her, look to the French for chic, effortless inspiration.

"I hear all the time French women are very stylish, but you know French women spend a lot of time thinking about what they are going to wear," she laughs, "and a lot of money. Appearance in France is obviously paramount, possibly more so than here. I think the Irish women are more relaxed, it's not in their psyche all of the time."

Style-wise, according to Veronique, comparing Irish women to the French is like comparing apples and oranges. "I think the Irish women have their own lovely style," she explains, "it's very feminine, more so than the French. There's a lot more sort of boyish stuff with the French. We are built more like boys, whereas the Irish women are more feminine."

For Veronique, incorporating vintage into every day wear is key, rather than going all out for that fancy dress look. "My shop is different in a way from other vintage shops. French women dress every day, some of the Irish women dress to go out and sometimes they can be more casual or not care so much about it," she explains.

"The stuff here is vintage, but it's not about special occasions, it's more about integrating these lovely vintage fabrics and cuts into day wear because it makes something different and individual."

And this individualism need not come at a nosebleed -inducing price.

"With people not having so much cash available, accessories are great to change an outfit," suggests Veronique, "One scarf can give you a completely new outfit. You can do lots of things with one scarf, you can put it at the back, around your neck, you can knot it different ways, that's just one small accessory that can go a long way."

Jewellery is also one of Veronique's tips to bring about a different look. "It shouldn't be for just special occasions," she tells me, "if you take the normal day to day and wear like an Aran jumper and put some pearls on with it, which would look great, and then just a nice silk dress. If we wait for a nice occasion to wear these things, we will never wear them!"

Style, in Veronique's opinion, is about allowing yourself the freedom to be your own person. "Obviously you pick up on what's around, the fashion, the trends," she specifies, "but it's making it your own is the most important thing." As can be seen from the photos, Veronique has achieved that with her own wardrobe.

The draw towards vintage is not something that Veronique can really explain.

"I have always loved old things," she ponders. "I've grown up in an environment where my mother was forever buying old things, clothes as well. I love nice-looking things, it's a personality thing -- I think some people are more sensitive to a nice environment and some people don't care and when you like beauty generally or nice things, it sort of pervades everything."

The history attached to each vintage clothing item is something she finds hugely attractive. "There's a whole past that comes travelling with it," she smiles, "and it's nice that it is that link to the past.

"One thing I love about my shop and I don't think that many shops would get is the mother, daughter and grandmother combinations coming in.

"For the older women in their seventies or eighties who come in, it's like stepping back into things that they would have had when they were 16 or 17, so it's a nice way to bridge across the generation gap."

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