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Style notes: Helen McAlinden does high glam, cashmere care, and Irish designs on show

Our fashion editor rounds up the latest style news

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Helen McAlinden’s polka-dot tulle 'Silavana' skirt, €220, and sheer body, €75. Picture: Andres Poveda

Helen McAlinden’s polka-dot tulle 'Silavana' skirt, €220, and sheer body, €75. Picture: Andres Poveda

Naya sports luxe coat, €174, worn with seam trousers, €95, from Choice Boutique, McElhinneys and boutiques nationwide

Naya sports luxe coat, €174, worn with seam trousers, €95, from Choice Boutique, McElhinneys and boutiques nationwide

Pilo fabric shaver by the Steamery, €44, Designist

Pilo fabric shaver by the Steamery, €44, Designist

Colin Burke's crochet coat, €2,350, part of the Irish showcase at Havana in Donnybrook

Colin Burke's crochet coat, €2,350, part of the Irish showcase at Havana in Donnybrook

Sarah Murphy's gold lace dress, €850, Havana, Donnybrook

Sarah Murphy's gold lace dress, €850, Havana, Donnybrook

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Helen McAlinden’s polka-dot tulle 'Silavana' skirt, €220, and sheer body, €75. Picture: Andres Poveda

Irish designer Helen McAlinden has an uncanny habit of anticipating women’s fashion needs with impressive clarity and know-how. Before lockdown, the last outfit I purchased from her shop, No 20, on South William Street, was a draped cream crepe coat and matching dress for a trip to Paris, and the neutral colours meant I was able to leverage quite a number of useful mix-and-match looks out of a very small suitcase.

I watched this year as Helen’s elevated leisurewear came through, but it was her fashion show in Dundrum Town Centre, to mark her arrival into the fashion floor at Harvey Nichols, that was a real eye-opener.

The velvet, wool and tulle pieces were worn by women across different ages. Helen’s playful circular ‘Silvana’ skirt, €220, is the kind of Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Multi-layered in polka-dot tulle, it is worn with a sheer body, €75, exclusive to her No 20 store.

It’s a high-glam look worn with suede ankle boots or heels, but I’d have it working full-time in my wardrobe because I love it so much — with a cashmere or fine knit cardi or with a biker jacket and knee-high boots.

Helen has proved herself to be a woman for many seasons, but her AW collection is really on fire.

helenmcalinden.com

Layering considerations

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Naya sports luxe coat, €174, worn with seam trousers, €95, from Choice Boutique, McElhinneys and boutiques nationwide

Naya sports luxe coat, €174, worn with seam trousers, €95, from Choice Boutique, McElhinneys and boutiques nationwide

Naya sports luxe coat, €174, worn with seam trousers, €95, from Choice Boutique, McElhinneys and boutiques nationwide

Oversized coats are now an urban staple, and I’ve quite a mix, from the very big and long to thin but cosy puffers.

The Irish brand Naya is famous for its laid-back collection, with easy silhouettes and modern fabrics.

It’s been described as extroverted dressing for minimalist dressers, and I liked the mix-and-match qualities when I spotted the AW21 collection, especially the coat (above) at Choice Boutique in Sandycove.

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Naya’s pieces are designed at Chase Fashions in Fashion City in Walkinstown, Dublin. It also sells to the UK, Europe and Canada and, this season, it launched into North America.

You will find Naya available nationwide in leading independent stores.

Woolly jumpers

Investing in good cashmere is always a pleasure, but it needs maintenance, like removing the small balls of fibre or ‘pills’ that build up on the surface. However, like fine wine, cashmere improves with age if cared for properly.

I picked up this wisdom from the legendary cashmere brand Johnstons of Elgin. I have one of their depilling wooden combs, which cost around €6, and the trick here is to lay the garment out flat and then use the comb.

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Pilo fabric shaver by the Steamery, €44, Designist

Pilo fabric shaver by the Steamery, €44, Designist

Pilo fabric shaver by the Steamery, €44, Designist

Last week, I spotted the Pilo fabric shaver by Stockholm brand Steamery on sale for €44 at Designist on South Great George’s Street. It is definitely worth checking out, especially if you love knitwear, and it also works impressively on bringing a wool coat, with fuzz on the front and sleeves from heavy duty, back to life.

I found the Steamery razor easy to manoeuvre, and be sure to keep the small lead that comes in the box, because this device will need to be charged up.

designist.ie

Irish showcase

Nikki Creedon’s Havana Boutique in Donnybrook has been the most incredible go-to destination for wonderful Irish brands over the last 27 years.

Nikki’s eye is legendary, and apart from being the exclusive stockist of Simone Rocha in Ireland, she always has something that little bit different, from interesting designers across fashion to accessories and fragrances.

This month, Havana launched a showcase with an eclectic mix of the best of its multi-brand offering, with curated pop-ups and capsule collections from exciting new brands.

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Sarah Murphy's gold lace dress, €850, Havana, Donnybrook

Sarah Murphy's gold lace dress, €850, Havana, Donnybrook

Sarah Murphy's gold lace dress, €850, Havana, Donnybrook

It runs for another week, and you will find designs from one of my personal favourites, Sarah Murphy from Co Wicklow, there. I was fortunate to commission a bespoke black beaded dress from her a few years ago and it remains a dress-up favourite.

Also in the line-up at Havana, you will find Colin Burke, whose work I’ve watched, and chronicled, since I interviewed him at his graduate collection show in NCAD.

His luxurious handcrafted crochet coats in a myriad of textured stitches are worth a close inspection because they are works of art, but highly wearable.

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Colin Burke's crochet coat, €2,350, part of the Irish showcase at Havana in Donnybrook

Colin Burke's crochet coat, €2,350, part of the Irish showcase at Havana in Donnybrook

Colin Burke's crochet coat, €2,350, part of the Irish showcase at Havana in Donnybrook

You will also find Landskein coats in Irish tweeds, and knitwear and accessories from Castanea, Sphere One and Sian Jacobs.

havanaboutique.ie

Vintage blue

The ever-talented Breda Casey continues to enthral me with her vintage finds, which are on sale in her store on St Patrick’s Quay in Cork city.

I love poking around this shop in the Victorian Quarter, just down the road from the train station, and the beauty is that they ship worldwide.

If you happen to be down that neck of the woods, they have a warehouse clearance sale today at the River Lee. Booking is through their website.

missdaisyblue.com


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