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Style notes: Metallic swimwear from Mona Swims, pre-loved looks for Oxfam, and the Longines Designer Award winner

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

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‘Marilyn’ retro-inspired one-piece and ‘Olivia’ pure silk cape in Schiller print from Mona Swims. Picture: Carla Johnson

‘Marilyn’ retro-inspired one-piece and ‘Olivia’ pure silk cape in Schiller print from Mona Swims. Picture: Carla Johnson

‘Marilyn’ retro-inspired one-piece and ‘Olivia’ pure silk cape in Schiller print from Mona Swims. Picture: Carla Johnson

While the rest of us are concentrating on coats and boots for the impending winter and more monsoon weather, there are a lucky few shopping for swimwear and resortwear.

To those autumn travellers who left their sunshine break until after the kids went back to school in the hope that flights would be cheaper and airports quieter — let me tell you, I am very envious.

Sunseekers holidaying in Ibiza this summer had a great opportunity to drool over and buy pieces from Irish designer Carla Johnson, founder of Mona Swims. For sheer impact, it’s hard to miss her retro-inspired ‘Marilyn’ jungle metallic one-piece (€190) under the Schiller print ‘Olivia’ silk cape (€360). Talk about head-turning.

I love retro swimwear, and the 1970s-inspired piece has a high waist to flatter all shapes, and with that plunging neckline, it’s ideal for packing, because it doubles up for eveningwear/clubwear.

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The black metallic ‘Kaia’ one-piece. Picture: Carla Johnson

The black metallic ‘Kaia’ one-piece. Picture: Carla Johnson

The black metallic ‘Kaia’ one-piece. Picture: Carla Johnson

Johnson comes from Dublin, and she worked as a textile designer around the world for companies like DVF, Erdem and Calvin Klein after she graduated from NCAD.

Using a mix of original artwork and her photography, Johnson produces one collection a year, and her latest collection, Titan, was inspired by what she imagines are the different elements you would find on Saturn’s largest moon.

The planet is covered in a vast array of fascinating features, including flowing rivers of liquid methane and sandy dunes made from organic materials, and Johnson’s vision materialised into some fascinating new prints and metallic effects.

My favourite print in this new collection is the Schiller, full of iridescence and bronze-like lustre, resembling that gorgeous crystal, labradorite. Along with the ‘Olivia’ cape, which is handmade in Ireland, Johnson used the Schiller print very effectively on a number of other pieces, including the ‘River’ one-shoulder dress (€375).

The ‘Olivia’ cape is also available in the ‘Freya’ print, made in airy light silk with a satin sheen. But for sheer drama, it is hard to beat the ‘Bedouin’ classic-style kimono (€590). Yes, it is pricey, but it will earn its way in your wardrobe worn throughout the winter at home over core neutrals, going out for dinner, or the ultimate treat — swanning around at home and worn over your PJs while listening to the rain outside.

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Gold metalllic ‘Cher’ bikini top and hipster briefs, worn under the ‘Bedouin’ kimono in the Freya print. Picture: Carla Johnson

Gold metalllic ‘Cher’ bikini top and hipster briefs, worn under the ‘Bedouin’ kimono in the Freya print. Picture: Carla Johnson

Gold metalllic ‘Cher’ bikini top and hipster briefs, worn under the ‘Bedouin’ kimono in the Freya print. Picture: Carla Johnson

For hardcore beach babes, I recommend they check out Johnson’s metallic gold ‘Cher’ bikini with triangle top and hipster briefs (€125 each). They are made from Econyl, a sustainable regenerative fabric made from ocean and landfill waste.

Her black metallic ‘Kaia’ one-piece (€250) features a sportslux neckline with a cut-out waistline attached to contrasting Lycra briefs and, like the ‘Marilyn’ one-piece, transitions well from day into night.

Finally, if you are from the school that loves a sassy snake print, Johnson’s interpretation of this popular graphic is her ‘Yemanja’ print that she uses across her resort wear, where a pure silk sarong costs €220. monaswims.com

Second Hand September

Rosanna Davison came out to support Oxfam Ireland’s Second Hand September campaign, which is encouraging the nation to “dare to rewear” and shop second-hand.

The annual campaign aims to promote awareness of sustainable shopping, highlight climate injustice, and encourage people to say yes to second-hand clothes for 30 days and beyond.

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Rosanna Davison rose to the challenge from Oxfam Ireland to find an outfit for €50 from the Fashion Relief pop-up at the Frascati Centre in Blackrock as part of Second Hand September

Rosanna Davison rose to the challenge from Oxfam Ireland to find an outfit for €50 from the Fashion Relief pop-up at the Frascati Centre in Blackrock as part of Second Hand September

Rosanna Davison rose to the challenge from Oxfam Ireland to find an outfit for €50 from the Fashion Relief pop-up at the Frascati Centre in Blackrock as part of Second Hand September

The former Miss World and busy mum of three took up the challenge to put an outfit together for under €50, and in fairness to her — well, she does have a fine eye for dressing up — she found a number of cool outfits from Oxfam and Lorraine Keane’s Fashion Relief pop-up in the Frascati Centre in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Davison played around with core pieces and accessories, but my favourite was a C/Meo Collective graphic print dress which cost €35, River Island sandals for €5, and orange bag for €10.

The charity has come up with a challenge for those of you who might like to dress sustainably and win a prize. All you have to do is dress yourself from one of Oxfam Ireland’s shops around the country, share the look on social media, and be in with the chance to win one of three €100 vouchers for Oxfam Ireland’s online tech shop. Competition details from oxfamireland.org/shs-win.

Designer competition

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Winner of the 2022 Longines Young Designer Award Rosemary O’Connor with model Sarah Kennedy wearing the winning outfit and judge Courtney Smith

Winner of the 2022 Longines Young Designer Award Rosemary O’Connor with model Sarah Kennedy wearing the winning outfit and judge Courtney Smith

Winner of the 2022 Longines Young Designer Award Rosemary O’Connor with model Sarah Kennedy wearing the winning outfit and judge Courtney Smith

Congratulations to Rosemary O’Connor, a recent graduate of Mallow College of Design and Tailoring, who won the 2022 Longines Designer Award at the Irish Champions Weekend. Judge Courtney Smith praised the tailoring and intricate detail in O’Connor’s two-piece outfit and headpiece inspired by Matador costumes.


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