Monday 20 November 2017

Bespoke beauties

Bairbre Power checks out two brands offering the perfect fit

‘Poly’ light wool dress, €315,
Alicia Tomzak, and shoes by Menbur
‘Poly’ light wool dress, €315, Alicia Tomzak, and shoes by Menbur
‘Diana’ silk dress, €335, Alicia Tomzak; shoes by Menbur, and headpiece by Royal Splendor
‘Stella’ cream dress with black cuffs, €290, Alicia Tomzak; shoes by Menbur, and headpiece by H&M
‘Grace Kelly’ dress in herringbone wool, €255, charlotteandjane.com
‘Anna’ saffron, pure wool/silk dress, €275, charlotteandjane.com
‘Pati’ black dress, €315, Alicia Tomzak, and boots by Menbur
‘Maria’ red coat in pure wool from Kerry Woollen Mills, €295, charlotteand jane.com
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Original looks with a made-to-measure fit are the hallmarks of a bespoke fashion buy. Off-the-peg purchases from the high street don't fit everyone.

Big boobs -- or a flat chest, for that matter -- can make a dress sit incorrectly, and with most women boasting pear shapes, ordering a dress with a personalised fit can dispense with the need for uncomfortable, lose-the-will-to-live shapewear.

Our first stop on the bespoke tour this week was Irish brand Charlotte and Jane, which hails from Kinsale in the people's republic of Cork. With the label's strong vintage heritage, the girls continue to explore 1940s and 1950s styles, all created in a bewildering assortment of fabrics.

It's like pick 'n' mix, really, and you can tick the various boxes depending on what style, colour and fabric you want, then add another stamp of originality by choosing your own buttons.

The choice of fabrics includes pure Irish wools, linens, tweeds and wool/linen/silk mixes. You are measured for the fit and length, and your bespoke dress is made within a month of order by inhouse seamstresses at their Cork base.

Dresses cost from €185 and the range of options stretch from classic daytime and evening looks to smart office wear and special-occasion dresses.

The label is introducing three black-tie dresses in the autumn/winter collection, which will be seen for the first time in Galway next month.

While Charlotte and Jane started out doing fittings for bespoke buys at their Kinsale studio, they now take their dresses on tour. You can make a booking for their regular fittings twice every season in Dublin, Galway, Killarney, Donegal and Wexford.

August 3-4 sees them at the Westwood Hotel in Upper Dangan, Newcastle, Galway, where they will be showcasing their autumn/ winter collection.

There is a fee of €50, part of which is redeemable against orders.

Another new name offering a bespoke service is Alicia Tomzak, who trained in Poland as well as the Grafton Academy and she has quite an eye for sexy girlie drama.

"I create cocktail dresses in simple, minimal, elegant styles; clothes that are useful and can be worn time and time again. It's casual elegance of the highest order," said the designer.

Visiting her studio in Dublin, it is clear Alicia is a go-getter. Her limited-edition collections in luxurious Italian fabrics feature lovely touches in elegant collars and outstanding bows.

My aim is to create apparel for dynamic, free and exceptional women who use clothes to communicate these qualities to the world," said Alicia, who has been chosen for a EU programme for young entrepreneurs.

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