Style notes: Jenny Ashe’s alternative wedding wear, Jenny McCarthy’s baby essentials and designer donations at Lorraine Keane’s Fashion Relief store

Our fashion editor rounds up the latest style news and fashion trends

Ivory one-shouldered jumpsuit with gathered shoulder made in silk duchess and crush silk velvet, €3,200,

Bairbre Power

Changing careers in order to follow a passion for fashion is becoming increasingly popular. And the good news for any of you considering a move is the success rate is good, but it takes a lot of dedication, and having a real point of difference is what gives you that edge when you are taking on established retailers.

I’ve been watching Jenny Ashe as she builds her made-to-measure bespoke tailoring business, with a view point of offering clothes that “fit like a glove”. Her latest collection has just landed and you can see how much she has grown and developed as a designer.

A fourth-generation ballet teacher, Ashe initially worked in public relations and returned to study fashion design and pattern drafting at The Grafton Academy. Two years ago, she brought her range to market with her debut Aurora collection, which included a modern take on theatre dressing and some very tempting silk kimonos.

This month, Ashe launched her latest collection, which has looks for all genders, and if it’s drama you are after, it includes a luxurious velvet opera cloak with hood and batwing sleeves.

White batwing fringed dress with plunge neckline, €2,500,

There’s also a full-length, fringed batwing dress with plunge neckline, front and back, that just screams ‘I want to dance’, and it is available in black and also in white.

When we spoke, Ashe was busy with commissions. Her latest collection includes a blush tailcoat with her ‘Marie’ organza sleeves, and it can have a second life as a cropped jacket when you unzip the tails.

Cropped silk satin jacket with silk organza ‘Marie’ sleeves and detachable train, €3,900

The colour palette is cream, white and blush, and this is the first time she is introducing alternative wedding wear.

There are 22 made-to-measure looks, “designed with the desires of the modern person in mind,” says Ashe.

“My idea was to offers people of all genders their dream design options for both contemporary and traditional weddings in Europe and further afield.”

Designs from Jenny Ashe's new collection

Prices start from €650. Above, the bride wears an ivory silk satin crepe roll-collar jacket with single button and detachable silk tulle band with fuchsia buttons (€2,700) over a cream silk duchess asymmetric mini dress with gem chain shoulder strap (€1,250).

The male model wears an ivory pinstripe silk organza shirt (€1,350) with ivory/metallic silk jacquard flared trousers (€1,400).

Sustainable style

Every time I meet Lorraine Keane, I enquire about what she is wearing, and she inevitably tells me that it’s a little gem from the Fashion Relief boutique in the Frascati Centre, Blackrock.

Keane has been nominated for a VIPSustainable Style award for her work with Oxfam Ireland’s Fashion Relief. Back in 2018, she teamed up with the charity to organise a series of live events, and out of that grew her Fashion Relief store, and there’s also an online shopping channel for which her daughter, Emelia Devlin, a budding actor, often models the outfits.

Lorraine Keane with model Yomiko Chen wearing a Caroline Kilkenny suit, €145, donated to the Fashion Relief boutique at the Frascati Centre in Blackrock

Professional models like Yomiko Chen volunteer their services to help the charity, as did fashion photographer Sasko Lazarov, so the industry response has been immense.

The offer in the store is an interesting mix of new clothes and accessories donated by shops and wholesalers, with all proceeds going to Oxfam Ireland. You will also find new garments with the labels still on and pre-loved pieces donated by people.

At a recent shopping event, I spotted a host of designer pieces from labels like Prada, Chloe and Gucci, Marco Moreo shoes and Knight & Day jewellery.

Keane wore a mix of designer and high-street, with Prada trousers (€60), Zara jacket (€20) and a Massimo Dutti bag (€30). For the many Umit Kutluk fans out there, let me flag that there was a pink jumpsuit for €175 in store.

Babies and brides

It usually starts with a simple idea — often a reaction to what we see or a recognition of a gap in the market. That’s exactly how well-known photographer Jenny McCarthy ended up creating her own range of baby products. In her studio, she saw parents struggling to change a nappy without taking the whole look off, and not being able to find their phone or a wallet in a big baby bag full of essentials.

Jenny McCarthy's Zipzee Gro’

McCarthy’s lifestyle brand has launched the Zipzee Gro’ in 100pc organic cotton, and there’s zips around the nappy area and down the front so you can quickly change baby. Available in sizes 0-3 months, 3-6 months and 6-9 months, it costs €29. There’s also a leather-look baby bag (€150) with padded changing mat and interchangeable straps, so it goes from backpack to carryall to buggy bag.

Baby Bag by Jenny McCarthy

As a wedding photographer, she always has to keep her eye on the weather, and she has an umbrella big enough to not only cover the couple but a big gúna as well. Available in white and black with a silver handle, it costs €60.