Standing on Park Avenue during New York Fashion Week, I could only belly laugh at my dilemma.
Having packed for 80 degree, Indian summer weather in the US, I was now soaked to the skin after getting caught in torrential rain of Singing in the Rain proportions - and those yellow cabs did a great job of adding to the sidewalk splashes. Streaking mascara and shoes that squelched did not make for a good Fashion Week look. The only good thing about the rain was that it was warm!
Caught on the hop, I headed to the shops the next day when I saw Manhattan's skies steeling up with rain clouds again. I did the usual Fifth Avenue/Madison Avenue haunts but I came home empty handed. I couldn't find anything I liked for this transeasonal weather - when you experience four seasons in a day. While I adore shopping and scoping out new labels travelling abroad, subconsciously, I wasn't shopping in New York, keeping my cash to shop at home because, the truth be known, I lost my heart to a traditional camel mac I spied at Marks & Spencer the day before I left. (And then there was the prospect of coming home to the launch of Peter O'Brien's latest collection for Arnotts.)
The M&S show at Dublin's Royal Hospital recently showcased some seriously great coats and I feel the need to flag the Best of British, a new collection - and one which shouldn't be ignored. Their traditional mac is a beautiful weight and looks chic cinched in casually with a knotted belt.
The stylist for the show, Catherine Condell, zoned in on a tartan dress which is 100pc silk and a great buy if you want to channel tartan this season but want to avoid the street style favourites of checked shirts and throw-size scarves. The tartan dress looks great under the cotton mac and to finish off the look, add those cool brogues, €82, with leather insert.
I know I started this tale with my NYC flood but should you find yourself in the market for a luxe trench-style coat which is not aimed at rainwear functionality, I suggest you check out the tan suede trench from the Autograph collection at M&S. True, this isn't one for wearing on public transport or around little people with sticky hands but it really is very chic and if you like that whole Ralph Lauren vibe of suede with cableknits, denims and leather boots at weekends, it is a grown-up buy with classical lines so it won't date.
The man himself, Peter O'Brien poses with models Louise and Eve at the launch of his new collection for Arnotts. I was very smitten by his crepe top with short sleeves which comes in canary yellow and a very useful cream version with gorgeous button detail up the back (€155).
The crepe culottes (€195) boast fluid lines and the uncomplicated silhouette you'd expect from a couturier, while Peter's white, A-line shirt with pleated hemline (€225) looks great worn out over a black satin skirt (€245). Peter's new collection has a number of seriously covetable pleated dresses including the black one featuring a puritan white collar over crepe top and a double circle pleated skirt (€295). There's also a plush velvet dress with swirling chiffon pleated skirt. Roll on the party season is all I can say.
The Melinda Maria range of jewellery is one of the new brands at Arnotts ground-floor jewellery department.
The prices for this Italian range are seriously affordable and this gorgeous 'Monroe' stacking ring is, in fact, all one and costs €80. Definitely worth checking out. Serious self-gifting potential.