'How people are buying is changing. Fashion has to change to suit that. People aren't spending on impulse any more," Irish designer Aideen Bodkin tells me of the business of fashion in 2018.
"I feel fashion has moved down women's lists, in terms of priority of spend," she says. "There are social changes. Women, in general, are much more social, and are spending their money in different ways - going to dinner with each other; holidays away. Thus clothes have to work even harder to get their attention."
I have always admired Aideen Bodkin's clear vision. She is a true creative. Thus, she is a thinker. She assesses and evolves. By continuously thinking about what life her customer is now leading and adapting with her, Aideen has survived recessions, booms and recoveries, to celebrate her 20th anniversary in the fashion business this year.
In its early days, the brand serviced working women with great tailoring. But within five years of launching, Aideen was creating beautiful, vintage-inspired, highly feminine collections that we in the Sunday Independent couldn't get enough of; celebrities regularly graced our front pages dressed in Aideen Bodkin.
With the Celtic Tiger, occasion wear became the very loud drum that customers were beating and Irish designers couldn't afford to ignore.
"Now fashion has gone back to being for people's lives. Women are looking for beauty, adaptability, flexibility. It isn't just about occasions. Women don't want to wear a beautiful dress only once - they want to wear it in the summer on a beautiful day, to work, and so on," Aideen explains. "With these changes in our customers' lives, I feel the nostalgic feel of the brand is back again. It feels more creative."
I love that Aideen has returned to what she does beautifully - retro-inspired, soft femininity, but excellently tailored so that each piece is as flattering on as possible. Instead of coats or jackets, Aideen has gone for removable capes and adaptable sleeves. As a lover of dance - and tango especially, which nurtures and celebrates the feminine - I feel there are many pieces here that would look delicious at a milonga.
I love that Aideen has used bodices to create shape and support, and then applied the most delicate of laces to them to add a seductive edge to the demure impression.
"This collection is softer. I love vintage and the 1940s and 1950s; that strong female, feminine, character. But this time, it's gentler," Aideen says. "It's about things that you spend a bit more on; that you cherish that bit more."
Photography by Anita Sadowska
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
Sunday Indo Life Magazine