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Call to arms: Aideen Bodkin collection explodes with colour

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Jacket, €365; dress, €289, both Aideen Bodkin. Glasses, €390, Optica.

Jacket, €365; dress, €289, both Aideen Bodkin. Glasses, €390, Optica.

Jacket, €349; dress, €289; clutch, €115, all Aideen Bodkin. Shoes, €125, Buffalo ShoeLab. Sunglasses, €390, Optica. Gloves, €89.95, Paula Rowan.

Jacket, €349; dress, €289; clutch, €115, all Aideen Bodkin. Shoes, €125, Buffalo ShoeLab. Sunglasses, €390, Optica. Gloves, €89.95, Paula Rowan.

Belted dress, €339; clutch, €115,  both Aideen Bodkin. Hat, €350, Carol Kennelly.

Belted dress, €339; clutch, €115, both Aideen Bodkin. Hat, €350, Carol Kennelly.

Belted dress, €269, Aideen Bodkin. Necklet, €275, Melissa Curry. Gloves, €15, The Harlequin.

Belted dress, €269, Aideen Bodkin. Necklet, €275, Melissa Curry. Gloves, €15, The Harlequin.

Coat, €449, Aideen Bodkin. Shoes, €171.43, Ted Baker, Asos. Gloves, €89.95, Paula Rowan.

Coat, €449, Aideen Bodkin. Shoes, €171.43, Ted Baker, Asos. Gloves, €89.95, Paula Rowan.

Dress, €275, Aideen Bodkin. Necklace (worn as bracelet), €395, Melissa Curry.

Dress, €275, Aideen Bodkin. Necklace (worn as bracelet), €395, Melissa Curry.

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Jacket, €365; dress, €289, both Aideen Bodkin. Glasses, €390, Optica.

We Irish women are known the world over for our fixation about our arms, refusing to wear a beautiful dress unless a) it can have sleeves added, or b) you can wear a shrug with it.

Will you listen to one who knows? Arm-flesh-revealing sleeveless dresses make you look younger and sexier.

This is especially true in summer, when covering up is just wrong.

Designer Aideen Bodkin has been 15 years in the business of fashion and has made spring/summer day-occasion dresses and coats her specialty.

As I moaned to her about this issue that women have with their arms, Aideen smiled tolerantly and said, "In the summer, sleeves can be a bit cumbersome and some dresses definitely look better without them, but it is all about feeling comfortable. I know that if my customer doesn't feel comfortable revealing her arms, then I must take that on board in what I offer her."

With this attitude, it is no surprise, then, that Aideen Bodkin for spring/summer 2015 abounds with options on sleeves, waist heights, skirt lengths and silhouette. It also positively explodes with colour. "For me, spring/summer is all about colour. Especially for Irish people. We come out of a long, dark winter and we want something upbeat and bright," Aideen says. "I always find spring a very enjoyable season to work on, because there is so much choice. You can be a bit more adventurous. It is a happy season."

The Aideen Bodkin collection features lots of dresses in beautiful prints in what are largely 1960s-influenced shapes - but modernised - and feminine jackets with frill edging, and luxurious wraps and co-ordinating handbags, that work across the range.

"It is a kind of vintage-inspired collection and it always has been, though my aim is to make dresses look more contemporary," Aideen explains.

"I love vintage, probably because I have always loved old movies. My mother and grandmother used to make their clothes and they were always so stylish and well dressed. I feel that is what women today want, too. They want something they can feel comfortable in and very stylish."

Hers is not a false claim. There are short and knee-length dresses in fitted pencil shapes, to gentle A-line styles, in lightweight brocades with a very subtle metallic hue to bring light to the wearer, as well as dramatic prints, and my favourite - printed lace. This is great for concealing physical annoyances, as well as giving shape to the too-slender.

Aideen loves tailoring and is great on the pattern side, thus the fit is excellent.

"People spending on a designer collection want something very special," she says. "Also something that they can hold on to and wear, seasons later."

Aideen Bodkin gives that, and more.

Sunday Independent