Cork special: Southern style
Home to where the heart is, Bairbre Power jumped at the opportunity to focus on Cork fashion this week and she has compiled a guide to the fashion stores you cannot afford to miss when visiting the 'Independent Republic' this summer
Bairbre's style notebook
Brown thomas, 18-21 Patrick Street (021) 480 5555
Regulars to the Brown Thomas mothership in Dublin never fail to be impressed by its sister store on 'Pana', Cork's wide main street. The store offers a tempting edit of international designer fashion and accessories labels. In fact, BT's in Cork often reminds me a little of Barneys in New York or Fenwick on London's Bond Street because you can navigate it very easily and at every corner, there is something even more covetable beckoning you over to inspect a little closer. Popular with Louboutin aficionados, the accessories hall boasts Mulberry, Saint Laurent Paris, Stella McCartney and upstairs on the fashion floor, I spied Isabel Marant Etoile, Vince, Self Portrait, Finders Keepers, Valentino, Escada, Armani, Hugo Boss and DVF. However, the big news about to break in Cork fashion circles is that the Roland Mouret label will be landing into BTs in July followed by Mary Katrantzou and Victoria, Victoria Beckham whose pink tunic dress is a summer head turner along with strapless pink/red dress. brownthomas.com
Samui, 17 Drawbridge Street (021) 427 8080 Clodagh Shorten's boutique boasts a strong collection of modern labels. She is the only Irish stockist of designer Danielle Romeril, whose camouflage pieces had us swooning this summer. Clodagh also has exclusives on the Australian footwear brand Senso, which has a massive international following. I was very smitten by their gold-capped flats.
It's definitely worth checking out the 5preview range of tees and sweats and another exclusive in store is Aesop skincare from Melbourne. samuifashions.com
Maura Derrane’s Leeside fashion finds
Galway woman Maura Derrane blew into town to film the Today show at RTÉ’s Cork studios, which has enabled her to discover more about the sights, sounds and shopping in the country’s second largest metropolis.
“I have really got to know Cork in recent years and I’ve had great pleasure discovering all the different shops and markets of the city. There’s a lot of variety and it is often easier to find more unusual items here than in other parts of the country.
“My favourite clothes shops are: Verso (Penrose Wharf, Penrose Quay, 021 451 8505), and The Dress Bar (Penrose Wharf, Penrose Quay, 021 451 8505).
“Blush (Douglas Village Shopping Centre, 021 436 8630) is also very nice and I have some lovely clothes which I have bought over the years for various photo shoots.
“I don’t have one particular shoe shop that I frequent regularly but I have picked up some really nice shoes in Debenhams (12-17 Patrick Street, Merchants Quay and Mahon Point Shopping Centres, 1890 946 779). Clarks (45 St Patrick’s Street, 021 427 8585 and Mahon SC, 021 4350465), used to be known for their comfortable, sensible shoes and they have become very stylish, particularly with their collaborations with people like Orla Kiely.
“I also love Brown Thomas on Patrick Street, and who wouldn’t, as it always has a great selection of beautiful clothes and shoes. Another really great Cork shop is Miss Daisy Blue (see next page) and I love browsing around and often pick up some gorgeous stuff which is really different to anything anyone else is wearing.
“What I love most about shopping in Cork is that the experience is so much more personal than it is in somewhere like Dublin — probably because it’s a much smaller place so people seem to have more time to talk, give advice and generally interact with you.
“I think that Cork women are very stylish. They are a little more casual than those in Dublin while at the same time, they seem to be more glamorous. I would say in general, the women seem to veer more towards a more classic look. Overall I would say Cork is a great place for shopping, food and style — all with its own individual personality.”
Bairbre's style notebook
Miss Daisy Blue
12-14, Market Parade, Off Patrick Street.
(021) 427 9428
Vintage fashion guru Breda Casey has a superb eye for sourcing genuine gems from yesteryear and her store (pictured right) is tucked in beside the entrance to the unmissable English Market. It really is a 'must see' on your fashion safari around Cork and, I promise, you will be rubbing your eyes in delight. Give yourself lots of time to savour the rails where you will find beauties like this quilted loungewear by Joseph Magnin, (€570, below), "The 1960s at its best," says Breda. facebook.com/missdaisyblue
Charlotte & Jane
The Grove, Compass Hill, Kinsale.
(021) 470 9855
This pair of vintage fashion lovers have put 1940s/50s-inspired style trips to Kinsale firmly on the map. Love the fact that you can book your made-to-measure bespoke outfit from a variety of styles, fabrics and trims - the 'Pippa' dress (right) costs €450. The girls have travelled around the country to bring their concept to customers but I think there is something lovely about visiting them to shop at their seaside village. Treat yourself to a splendid seafood dinner afterwards! A little birdie told me that they are having a sample sale at their Kinsale studio on May 29/30. charlotteandjane.com
Fran & Jane
22 Oliver Plunkett Street.
(021) 427 9598
The store is one of three Fran & Jane stores remaining and it is packed with really colourful pieces, like this flattering, bodycon red Jenese dress (left) which costs €199. They are something of a one-stop-shop with a strong offering in shoes, jewellery and bags. You'll find it a two-minute walk from BTs. facebook.com/franandjane
Main Street, Kinsale, (021) 477 4821
Celestine McCoy has been a well-kept secret among Munster ladies and her boutique in Kinsale is well worth calling into. Bring along a swatch of fabric to commission something special. hattitude.ie
Brocade & Lime
4 Cornmarket Street.
(021) 427 8882.
It's an orderly walk back through the decades when you enter this store located on what is better known to Corkonians as the Coal Quay. Lovely stock, everything from Stop Staring to Orla Kiely. Be sure and check out the 'What Katie Did' hosiery and their seamed tights costing €10-€15. brocadeandlime.ie
The Dressing Room
4 Emmett Place.
(021) 427 0117
Full of temptation, this store is full of gorgeous dresses and is located opposite the Crawford Art Gallery. Fans of the little black dress will swoon at this cocooned-shaped black Isabella number (below left) which costs €599.
Carey's Lane. (021) 229 0773
A new arrival into Cork, the rental boutique has day and evening wear and prices start at €190 for three days.
13, Douglas Village Shopping Centre.
(021) 436 8630
Lisa Meldrum has assembled a pretty selection of labels at this suburban boutique, from Penny Black to Eva Kazan, Marc Aurel, Isabel de Pedro occasion wear from Laura Bernal and the very glam Sfizio label (below) - jacket, €210, skirt, €215 and knit top, €139.