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Recession chic

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The eye for spotting designer styles at a fraction of the price is a gift that most women crave, but few have bothered to cultivate it. Until now.

The CCRs -- Credit Crunch Recessionistas -- are learning to read couturier catwalk trends in the glossy mags with an extra keen eye and then track the looks all the way to the high street... and to the supermarket, too.

The practice of shopping for fashion after grabbing the groceries has been very popular in Britain, where labels such as George at Asda have delivered on-trend looks for sensationally low prices.

Next week, prepare for a scrum as Tesco supermarkets take delivery of a designer-style lace dress for €60. So what's all the fuss about?

Lace has enjoyed a new lease of life in the fashion spotlight this year and, almost single-handedly, Miuccia Prada has breathed new life into the Swiss lace-making industry. The Italian design genius started off with a small piece of lace last season and then ended up using a fantastic catalogue of black, pale blue, silver and gold lace throughout her entire collection.

Forget the concept of arsenic and old lace; this artisan fabric is not for rich dowagers. The heritage fabric is so sexy and the gothic widow look has been completely revamped. The textural appeal of the fabric, with subtle windows of flesh peeping through looks fabulous.

Now, back to the Tesco navy dress, which has a sculpted fit and a window of flesh on the yoke. Revealing yet demure, it's a heady combination of formality and foxy femininity. The dress has a waist inset to cinch you in the right place and the really expensive touch that I absolutely adore is the scalloped, raw-edged hemline which you really notice because of the shorter underslip. For our shoot, we added a corsage for €5.50 and make-up artist Ivey Sullivan took inspiration from the corsage to choose her lipstick colour.

If you are looking for cutprice menswear, check out the men's pinstripe suit for €68. That's €47 for the jacket and €21 for the trousers. The cut is very good and gives no clue to the pricetag. If you fancy making it a three-piece suit, there's a €21 waistcoat to match. Fergus , our male model, commented on the fit of the suit and praised the waistcoat, "which fits like a glove". The suit is 68pc polyster and 32pc viscose and was made in China. Interestingly, Tesco have dropped the name Florence and Fred on their label and re-branded as F&F because of male relunctance to wear clothes with Florence in the name! For information on stockists, call 1850 744 844.

Bairbre Power

weekendfashion@independent.ie

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