Thursday 22 February 2018

Fashion: Deb's Queen

Dress, €400, Dresscode. Shoes, €180, Buffalo at Arnotts.
Necklace, €18.50, Topshop. Cuff, model’s own. Photo: James Horan
Dress, €400, Dresscode. Shoes, €180, Buffalo at Arnotts. Necklace, €18.50, Topshop. Cuff, model’s own. Photo: James Horan
Dress, €360, Dresscode. Ring, €20.50, Topshop. Cuff, €8.90, Forever 21
Dress, €380, Dresscode. Necklace, €8.80, Forever 21. Photo: James Horan
Dress, €370, Dresscode. Bracelet, €6.90, Forever 21. Photo: James Horan
Dress, €400, Dresscode. Bracelets, €6.90 each, Forever 21. Knuckle ring, €14.50, Topshop. Photo: James Horan
Dress, €360, Dresscode. Ring, €6.80, Forever 21. Photo: James Horan

Constance Harris

The Leaving Certificate is finally done and thousands of households around the country are breathing in the fresh air of relief, and living with stress-free teens again. . Enter the debs-dress saga. What to wear? Where to get it? What colour? Do they have my size?

Dresscode is a great, dedicated dress collection for debutantes that has always had its finger on the pulse of Irish divas and their red-carpet-moment desires. They are geniuses at creating dreamy, dramatic, comfortable dresses that capture a gal's imagination and transform her from an ordinary Chris to a Princess Christina. Or Angelina. Or whoever wears the style tiara these days.

Founded five years ago by aunt and niece Frances Taaffe and Aoife Collins, Dresscode has several years' experience serving the debs market. Earlier this year they branched into alternative bridal and bridesmaid wear, with great success among free-spirited young bridal parties.

Dresscode dresses are gorgeous and utterly trend-aware. They come in sizes 6-18. Dresscode offer a unique alterations service for €30-€50, so if a dress needs to be taken up, or in, it is done properly. A shawl is included with each dress.

Most importantly, Dresscode's three exclusive stockists keep a strict watch on who buys what for which school's debs, to make sure no two girls turn up dressed in the same gown. "We keep records of every dress to give exclusivity to every customer. So if a girl comes in to buy her debs dress we take her school details -- that way, we can make sure no one else in the school has it," Aoife told me. "So it really is first come, first served. But we have such a broad range of styles and colours it hasn't become an issue."

The range features more than 30 styles in a huge variety of colours. "We pretty much cover every colour under the sun and we think of every body shape when we are designing," Aoife explained. "When the debs is over, a lot of girls use our alterations service, asking for the dresses to be taken up and turned into party dresses. So they are getting more than one wear out of their buy."

When Dresscode first launched, girls wanted to dress like fairy-tale princesses. That is no longer the case. "Girls now want to look like fashion icons. Cinderella is so over," Aoife states. "We have been studying all the red-carpet events, and the catwalks. Neutrals, maxis, art deco and tribal are key this season. The Olsen twins are still big trendsetters. Also Alexa Chung. Our customer knows who is cool and what is hot."

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