IT was the €17 blouse that triggered a style stampede and a shift in Irish retailing patterns.
The pearl cuff ivory blouse was expected to sell out over eight weeks when it hit Penneys stores last autumn but instead, flew off the rails in just four days, its classic design attracting a more well-heeled type of shopper to the value end of the market.
"We are noticing the migration of a price-conscious shopper who traditionally would have shopped in the middle market high street and is now interpreting catwalk looks in the value market," said Ann-Marie Cregan of Penneys.
Not surprisingly, Penneys has reintroduced the sellout blouse for spring-summer 2011. This time it will be available in coral, silver and caramel and will be in stores in February.
Penneys has been inspired by the catwalk looks of Miuccia Prada's '60s beach scenes on duchesse satin. These have been interpreted in pretty, short prom dresses. Contrast and clashing colours are a badge of honour in this youthful collection, studded with lots of ladylike looks, ideal for 'Mad Men' fans.