Like mother, like daughter?
Kate Gleeson and her daughter Jessica Gaffney (16) were off to Paris to do the autumn collections the spring day we did our shoot at the Westbury. It was clear from the get-go that the fashion gene runs deep.
Jessica, a Transition Year student at Santa Sabina in Sutton, hopes to study fashion and is already helping to style fashion shoots.
"Jessica has an eye, and I love to see how she approaches outfits differently from me," says Kate, who opened her boutique, Diffusion, in Clontarf 20 years ago.
"I love to mix and match and so too does Jessica. I love the soft leather jacket by Dallin Chase from New York -- I wear it with a short, sequinned tunic by Dina Bar-El, and shoe boots. However, it's interesting how Jessica would wear it completely differently, with a big, waspy belt worn really high and heels from Korkys.
"Jessica is always borrowing bits and pieces from my wardrobe, but she is not looking for inspiration from her mother. Definitely not," says Kate. "She has her own look and would buy Topshop and River Island and throw in a trench coat from Diffusion. Jessica adores my Lainey Keogh knits but she wears them with a big belt, a short slip dress and her Uggs. I have one Lainey that I wore when I was expecting Jessica and she now she wears it, 16 years later."
Kate doesn't buy pieces to put them away for her daughter. "I think that when Jessica gets to the stage of 'dressing up', she will have her own take on things."
Kate has developed a keen eye for New York brands and her hero dress of the moment is by Nicole Miller, who has patented a very clever tucking style so that clothes don't fall flat on the tummy. The in-built tucks means that clothes can be very forgiving, but at the same time very figure hugging.
As for forays into Jessica's very tidy wardrobe, Kate admits to occasionally borrowing accessories, especially bags. "Jessica worked in her dad's pub and in my shop, and with her savings she bought a Hermès scarf. I was surprised and pretty chuffed that she liked that style of dressing. I thought she would spend all her money in the high street. She is not label driven and it's interesting to see how she puts her stamp on an outfit," said Kate.
Jessica says she reads Heat and Vogue magazine and while most of her shopping is on the high street, she loved the thrill of finding a military jacket from World War I at London's Portobello market. Going out, I borrow her tops and her suede jacket too."
Fran Nolan, of the Fran & Jane chain of Irish shops, is happy to admit that she'll often root through her daughter Laura's wardrobe, "because I really admire her style and she is much more adventurous.
"I looked in my wardrobe the day I was going to see U2 in Croke Park and thought 'no way', so I went next door into Laura's wardrobe and said 'what the hell, if I'm going to a U2 concert, I'll go as rock chick', and everyone loved what I wore, courtesy of Laura."
After years working in the rag trade, Fran admits she is "still learning from watching Laura, and she now works with me which is great. I really admire the quirky way Laura puts things together", she continues, "mixing the hard and soft, like wearing a chiffon dress with a long cardigan and boots.
"My style is simple and feminine and I love D&G, Balmain and Givenchy. My favourite pieces this season include the Halston- style coral dress with flowing pleats at the back. Usually I wear a lot of cream, black and grey. Laura bought me a Chanel handbag, my first, for a big birthday. If I'd bought it, I'd have got black but Laura chose red so I'm going to wear it with everything.
"I don't think there is an age limit to looking fabulous, Fashion is fun; it's great therapy -- better than a trip to the shrink."
Laura (24) acknowledges that she and her mum have "very similar taste, but mum has a much more commercial eye and instinctively knows what will sell, whereas I'm still learning that. We love the same designers and we share a lot. We spent four days looking for my wedding dress. I must have tried on about a million dresses and, in the end, we both liked the exact same dress.
"Mum is very trendy and I describe her style as classical with a twist," Laura continues. "She loves her accessories and to funk things up. I'm barred from wearing her full-length suede coat but I do sometimes, when she is away, and I'd give anything to get my foot into her Gucci boots."
"We take the same size clothes but not shoes so Laura can't borrow mine, thank God," says Fran, with a wide smile.
There are some things that are sacred in a mother's wardrobe.