Style Fashion

Sunday 16 December 2018

Hola chica

fashion edited by constance harris

Chica boutique in the Westbury Mall just oozes girly, glam-a-licious lifestyle. Walking through its door is like walking into a sparkly, multi-coloured set for some mad, aspirational show that might feature a surreal panel of celebs such as Ali Baba and his magic carpet, Dita Von Teese, Cameron Diaz and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Despite being seven years in business, Chica has never lost that Barbie-world glamour that in 2001, the then 24-year-old Mena Ryan and her younger sister, Josette, set out to create at a time when Ireland's Celtic kittens were only just beginning to cut their teeth on their acrylic French-manicured nails.

But Chica has been evolving. Mena is now married and living in London, running a Chica in Spitalfields. Josette is mum to a two-year-old boy, and Mary-Kate, their younger sister, has joined the company. With these changes in lifestyle, plus the knowledge they have gained from their loyal customers, the girls have much to give in terms of experience and they are using that knowledge. This season sees the girls realising yet another dream -- their own Chica label.

"For us, it was about creating something unique," Mena explained. "Season after season, we go to shows that we love, but we often feel there is something missing. We could feel what it was that we wanted, but didn't get. We wanted to do exactly what we wanted."

The collection consists of about 30 pieces. Wow-factor dresses are its core -- and strength -- though there are three classic LBDs which come in three lengths, and are about subtle shape and structure.

"It's all about remembering you are a woman and you want to have fun," said Mena.

"In creating the collection, we thought a lot about our customer and what she wants. What our own lives' needs are. Women have their concerns -- be it their arms, their bust, their bellies.

"That was an important aspect of the collection for us -- making sure we were looking after those very practical, real issues. Those issues also have their good aspects which deserve focus, like a good bust!"

Practical issues, such as cleaning, have been anticipated -- the dresses have removable embellished belts and Chica bought, where possible, washable fabrics. There are about seven tops, of varying colours and styles, and several skirts.

"Mainly minis!" Mena explained. "Although not all. But we do believe if you have good legs, flaunt them while you have got them!"

There's a Chica dress just waiting to get to know you!

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