Onwards and upwards
Arnotts has been through a lot of change in the last 10 years, ranging from its appearance to buying, management and ownership.
Throughout, Arnotts' fans watched each new development, concerned: was our Arnotts going to lose the identity we appreciated so much? Would it lose that unique character of being a traditional department store, selling everything from stationary, electric kettles and furniture, as well as offering bra-fitting services, high fashion and Communion outfits?
Thankfully, Arnotts' fate seems to be, finally, happily settled. Last year, the Selfridges Group, which has strong Irish ties and has steered Brown Thomas into a new era, succeeded in acquiring Arnotts.
Once again, money is being invested into Arnotts' appearance. Upgrades are happening - including the new Shoe Gallery on the first floor and a new Michael Kors boutique on the ground floor (due to open in October) - and exciting style events are being organised once again.
Walking the Arnotts fashion floors with Arnotts' Fashion Buying Director Valerie O'Neill - an Arnotts woman all her working life; someone I have known and interviewed many times - there is pride and palpable new energy in the store, and it is reflected in the clothes.
"Arnotts has always been a store about its customers. They feel they can count on us," she says. Valerie is passionate about fashion. She understands Arnotts and its customers. She knows what the country customer loves, and she knows what the Dublin customer loves.
In the contemporary department, Millie Mackintosh, Set, and Samsoe & Samsoe are some of the new labels to join Arnotts' favourites, and sit alongside labels such as Goat, Hugo Hugo Boss , Max & Co, Tommy Hilfiger, InWear, Basler, Caractere, and Irish designers Helen McAlinden, Fee G, Aideen Bodkin, Niamh O'Neill and Caroline Kilkenny.
The classic department, so important to the Arnotts customer, has modernised too, recognising the changed way women feel about themselves.
Fashion is about expressing your individual style and exuding confidence," says Valerie. "We are about meeting the demands of the modern Irish woman of every age and occasion."
Photography by Eilish McCormick
Styling by Jan Brierton
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
Sunday Indo Life Magazine