Bairbre Power: Vintage for the modern woman
The two designers channelling nostalgia from the Co Cork seaside
Charlotte and Jane are modern day fashion legends on Compass Hill in Kinsale, Co Cork, where they specialise in custom-made 1940s to 1950s-inspired clothes. Fans travel to enjoy a made-to-measure bespoke experience, and this month, the pair have introduced 13 new dress styles to their collection, which runs to over 100 different looks on charlotteandjane.com.
This season, it's a case of put your dancing shoes on ladies, because so many of the new looks available in three weight of wool crepe, and in over 50 colours, are picture perfect for special occasions. From the dainty row of buttons snaking sexily down the back of the 'Louise' sunflower yellow dress (pictured below) with its surprise of striking gold silk collar detail on the back, to the swirling drama of €850 'Zelda' party dress (main photo) with its plunging V-neckline at the front and back and pretty 3/4-length sleeves.
Apart from the lavish attention to detail in the collection, what impressed me most was the variety of necklines and embellishments because, a bit like the thorny issue of sleeves, every woman has a different attitude on how much cleavage, and neckline, they want to show off.
The oversized statement navy silk velvet collar in the 'Greta' dress (above) has a portrait neckline that style icons like Jackie O loved. The 'Jude' (fbelow) delivers a more open V-neck with raw silk on the collar and turned-up cuffs. Both dresses are €830, and prices in the collection start at €560.
Charlotte Cargin studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, while Jane Skovgaard is a fine art graduate of Durban Technikon. Jane recommends that women wear longer hemlines to actually lengthen their bodies. "Often people who come to us are pear-shaped and in order to disguise the hips, we make a statement collar to emphasise the waist. Even if you don't have a tiny waist, making the shoulders wider will create an hourglass shape," she says.
In addition to wool crepes, the designers also make up their designs in tweeds from Kerry and Donegal. All garments are made to order by Cork seamstresses. The bespoke process takes two visits. For those who can't travel to Kinsale, Charlotte and Jane will be meeting clients at the Royal Saint George yacht club in Dun Laoghaire from September 8 to 10.
Walk in the woods
Hardcore Jo Malone London fans are in for something special come September, with the launch of their latest collection, The English Oak, which comes with two new scents. The first is English Oak and Hazelnut, which one nose described to me as "the crunch of green hazelnut with the earthy woodiness of vetiver". The handbag-sized 30ml cologne is €54, with 100ml for €109. The second fragrance, English Oak and Red Currant, is available in cologne as well as body & hand wash, €35 (my favourite for the bathroom). The candle is €52, and body crème is €65.
GO TO: Exclusive to Brown Thomas stores and BT2 Dundrum