Thursday 22 February 2018

Recession chic doubles the value

Lisanna Kirwan wears a jade jersey dress with a detachable cowl. All photos: Frank McGrath
Lisanna Kirwan wears a jade jersey dress with a detachable cowl. All photos: Frank McGrath
The same dress without the cowl
Chloe wears an aubergine cut velvet jacket and chiffon skirt at the Richard Lewis autumn/winder show last night.
Another view of the dress
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Couturier Richard Lewis has perfected a fashionably elegant way of working around 2010 finances -- and it's called 'recession chic'.

After 40 years in the business, he put on his designer hat and came up with the two-look, double-value dress. The addition of a scarf-like cowl turns it into a completely different dress, delivering morning-into-evening appeal.

Tailored in jade green silk jersey, the round-neck dress with Lewis's signature rows of stitch is ideal for day or night, seductively body-skimming, showing off a very a feminine silhouette.

However, if you prefer a more demure look, you get double value for your money by adding a detachable cowl neck with pleated detail in the same fabric. It creates a higher neckline and there is a belt to cinch you in and give you that 'I-mean-business' look for the office.

Christian Dior famously went against hard times, and instead of conserving fabric he used it liberally.

Lewis said: "Last season I did a short navy dress with a wraparound, chiffon skirt which turned the dress into the basis for a ballgown and it went down so well, I decided to develop the concept. Clients are looking for sassy ways to beat recessionary times and this is my answer to it. One dress, two looks."

One of the most popular looks of the evening was a velvet sculpted jacket with a full chiffon skirt. Dramatically sheer, Lewis ramped up the sex appeal of the skirt by strategically cutting out the lining over one leg.

The end result went down a treat with clients at his autumn-winter show at the Royal Hibernian Academy gallery, Ely Place, last night.

"The skirts showing leg without being obvious, so when you walk, you see one complete leg but no more," said Lewis.


The packed show opened with a black-and-cream crushed wool jacket and jersey dress and closed with a puce jersey dress with tie-fronted opera coat. In between, there were simple wool day dresses and vibrant burgundy dresses with batwing jackets.

This season Lewis pared back his look to core basics with a variety of white shirts worn with black trousers -- which reflects his own wardrobe style. However, he delivered a pop of colour with amber jewellery he bought on holidays in Egypt.

The big hit of the night was the sheer trench coat executed in sheer black chiffon edged in raw silk.

"I like making things in the wrong fabric," said the designer with a mischievous smile.

Hats by former-hairdresser-turned-milliner Michael Leon created lots of interest from Lewis's dedicated customers who filled the gallery. They will have to wait until Monday to place orders at the designer's South Frederick Street salon. It's a day off today. The designer has gone fishing.

Irish Independent

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