Bairbre Power on turning back the clock and other adventures
You'd be surprised what tremendous fashion experiences you encounter in museums these days.
Here, in Ireland, we are spoilt with resources like the The Way We Wore exhibit at the National Museum at Collins Barracks, with pieces dating from the 1760s. Call into the Eileen Gray exhibition and watch The Price of Desire film about her life, with exquisite costumes by Irish couturier Peter O'Brien, whose capsule collections we look forward to in Arnotts every year.
In London recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the haunting beautiful and profoundly sad Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition which runs at the V&A in South Kensington until August 2. The first and largest retrospective of the late designer's work, the experience leaves you in total awe of Lee's awesome, tragic genius. You will want to linger for hours but while at the V&A, I highly recommend you make a point of visiting the print library.
Print has become so big in fashion in recent years with Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto excelling at telling their own story in print. High street brand Oasis are pioneers of print and believe, rightly in my book, that print has the power to not only tell stories but to transform our moods.
Oasis has collaborated with the V&A on an exciting new collection featuring 11 botanical prints dating from the 18th and 19th century, hand selected by the Oasis design team. The historic prints translate onto different shapes, from wide-leg, high waisted trousers to voluminous culottes. It was the exceptionally cute summer dresses featuring scarf prints and posey flowers that caught my eye and I loved the great-with-anything kimono which is called after Anna Maria Garthwaite, a talented textile designer, born in Lincolnshire in 1688.
Anna Maria created vivid floral designs for silk fabrics which were hand-woven in Spitalfields where, as fate would have, the Oasis HQ is today. Against the odds, she created over 800 watercolour designs in her life. Her talents of independence and perseverance - all those things that will mark out our young designers as they prepare to leave our fashion colleges this month - are still dear 252 years after her death.
Wearing a print that is a touchstone with history is a powerful, potent pleasure of modern dressing.
Just when I thought it was impossible to like actress/author Amy Huberman any more (her Twitter posts are hilarious, and very witty) I discover that Amy's stamped her foot down to the ponyhair trend in fashion, preferring to go with a simulated, animal-friendly approach to the high fashion textured footwear finish which is big on the catwalks. There are quite a number of simulated pony hair styles in her spring/summer 2015 range for Bourbon and they hit a number of heel heights, from almost flat with support to sexy T-bars which make a leg look so elegant. I was rather smitten by the 'chic-through-the-airport' look of the butter cream tasselled loafers with brown polka dots (€79.99). This Definitely Maybe style is also available in black with cream dots. The simulated ponyhair also pops up in various other styles including the Dear John, an open-toe sandal with giraffe print, and flattering burgundy patent T-bar (€99.99).
GO TO: bourbonfootwear.com where every style is named after one of Amy's favourite movies.