I was never all that fond of maths at school but I totally appreciated the breadth of the fashion figures revealed last week by Marks & Spencer at their SS17 collection launch in Dublin.
When I enquired about favourite elements in this collections and savvy shoppers' move towards 'seasonless' purchases, Belinda Earl - the M&S style director from London - unleashed some fascinating figures to illustrate the scope of their clothing offer.
Each year, M&S sells over 15million tops and 16.8 million bottoms - proof, if we need it, that we really do like mixing and matching ourselves. Then there's the 4.4million pairs of footwear, 1.2m coats and 1.8m dresses, which sit over some of the 21million bras bought with around 50,000 women using their bra fit service every week. Oh, and in case you're wondering about their underwear, they sell over 60million pairs of knickers each year. That's a hell of a lot of 'smalls' - and just how many are of the 'Bridget Jones' variety is another thing. The brand that started out in Leeds in 1884 with the slogan 'Don't ask the price, it's a penny' is expanding nicely along demographic lines, and one of the undoubted success stories here has been the introduction of the Twiggy collection into stores after years of only selling it online.
The iconic modelling face of the 1960s, Twiggy is very hands-on when it comes to designing her clothing range. Her latest collection comprises 18 pieces - she aimed to create an edit of timeless pieces with which you can update your wardrobe.
Due to public demand, Twiggy has included a biker jacket in her collection every season. This spring, I was delighted to see how she has developed her designer's eye and tweaked her 'hero' piece into an open-style blazer jacket with no buttons or ties. Wear it on its own or with your jeans and soft suede brogues in punchy orange - or, as in the picture (above), work it as a semi-informal trouser suit by adding her straight-leg trousers, dressed up with a lace blouse, or down with a T-shirt. At 67, Twiggy has been exceedingly clever at doing the maths and working to achieve the optimum number of mix-and-match combinations. Her 'hot bronze' lace pieces can certainly work effectively on their own or you can combine them for impact. They make perfect travelling companions for Easter. Twiggy says she loves to wear the lace top with her skinny jeans and brogues, and they blend effortlessly into her navy story, especially the raw-edged, collarless printed coat, (below, €125). See marksandspencer.ie
Jo Malone London have seduced so many of us with their iconic fragrances - from the popular Basil & Mandarin to Pomegranate Noir - and new to store this week comes The Bloomsbury Set, a limited-edition collection of five newly created colognes celebrating the lives of the Bloomsbury writers. Available exclusively at Brown Thomas, the 30ml sprays cost €56 each. There's Blue Hyacinth, with its waft of garden geraniums and vetiver; Garden Lilies, Leather & Artemisia, with amber woody notes of cypriol; Tobacco & Mandarin, which has notes of herbaceous sage sweetened with beeswax and sweet pipe tobacco and, finally, Whisky & Cedarwood, with spicy pimento and that waxy wooden-floor scent forever etched into the memory of anyone who's been to boarding school.
Meanwhile, checking out the Irish offering at Arnotts, I was smitten by the great colour palette in the Magee 1866 menswear collection - especially their Dillon jacket (€375) featuring a wine windowpane check trimmed with blue. Perfect for the modern Irish gentleman. And don't forget the final flourish: check out Mr. Jenks' excellent selection of pocket squares (€29.99).
Recreate the textural drama of Jessica Biel's statement necklace at the Oscars with the Stella & Dot Pegasus neckpiece of intricate gold feathers hand-sewn to silk organza. Also available in silver, it costs €198 from stelladot.eu