It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Helen Steele’s work. I admired her dramatic, large-scale paintings from afar, long before I could I finally buy into her artistic vision and her wearable art.
The Tucker sisters, Tracy and Anne, co-owners of Costume on Dublin’s Castle Market possess a legendary eye. They have been the exclusive stockist of Helen Steele’s uber colourful silk dresses and accessories for years and the pair of tastemakers have influenced so many women’s wardrobes with their buys from Alice Temperley, Isabel Marant and Jerome Dreyfuss.
Steele’s latest collection is named ‘purple wave’ — after one of her new prints. The range features a number of interesting new shapes, including the ‘Ali’ dress (€495) and jumpsuit for €840, made in a stretch-silk satin, which handwashes like a dream and drip dries.
“I’ve been doing the ‘Ali’ tank since I started. It’s slightly high on the neck and hides unfriendly parts of the upper arm. And this season, it was a bit of a no-brainer to drop it into a midi dress and it fits really well under a blazer, cardi or big denim shirt,” Steele told me over coffee.
Waistbands in jumpsuits can be so tricky and I was glad to see Steele ignored one and went for a loose fit which can be worn with or without a belt, transitioning easily from casual to formal with the addition of heels and clutch.
Other new dress shapes this season are the oversized ‘LA’ dress (€895) and the ‘Kaffe’ (€660), which is a hybrid of kaftan-meets-shirt dress — both are available in the purple wave and rose prints.
New silhouettes are always good but I have no doubt that fans of Steele’s classic favourite, the hugely popular ruffled ‘Cora’ dress will be pleased to find out that it is back for SS23 in three new prints and in luxe silk crepe (€382.50).
The ‘Jojo’ button-through dress with short sleeves (€595) is available in Costume in two very bright pink prints, plastic flower and the pink moss, just two of Steele’s portfolio of eight SS23 prints.
Watch out in April when Steele launches more dresses from her 22-piece collection on her own website, including a striking silk biker jacket (€1,250).
It would be totally remiss of me to put a spotlight on Helen Steele without referencing her collection for Dunnes Stores, where her line has proved to be so much more than simply athleisure gym wear.
Steele has introduced thoughtful elements for dressed-down days and new pieces landing into Dunnes Stores in March include a woven jacket with hood and matching midi skirt with side slits. There’s a patterned blue Parka and crop top, and even a dog jacket to match!
costumedublin.ie, helensteele.com, dunnesstores.com
The keenly awaited ARC fundraising fashion show takes place at the RDS concert hall next Thursday and I thought I’d whet your appetite and give you a little exclusive peek at some luxury kimonos which will debut in the show produced by Eddie Shanahan.
Caroline Duffy is a Louth-based artist and textile designer and a member of the Council of Irish Designers.
She initially dipped her toe into fashion with scarves. Last season, she introduced the ankle-length ‘abundance scarf dress’ (€630) with boat neckline and striped border.
This week, Duffy is launching her organic silk kimonos (€530). Inspired by 1930s glamour and nostalgic floral prints, the belted kimonos come in four prints, including the ‘garden’ print, the blue-based ‘blissful’ print, ‘abundance’ and ‘wild Irish roses’ with striped red and white belt.
The original artwork was painted by Duffy in her studio in Dundalk and digitally reworked and printed onto silk in Como, Italy.
Designed and made in Ireland, these new calf-length kimonos are available in one size and are dry clean only. If you love these prints, they can also be found as art for your walls, on notebooks and also in woven throws.
Congratulations to Corkwoman Sonia Gleeson whose Bold One Collective jewellery business was an intuitive response to all the enquiries she received about the Australian-designed pearl earring she wore on her wedding day.
She has a wide range of subtle and affordable cubic zirconia pieces and some of my favourites turned up on Dancing with the Stars this month when Jennifer Zamparelli wore the sterling silver cubic zirconia ‘Camille’ hoop earrings (€195) and ‘Poppy’ cubic zirconia sterling silver adjustable bracelet (€110).
Doireann Garrihy wore the sterling silver cubic zirconia ‘Interlock’ drop earrings, (€85) which look way more expensive than the price-tag. It’s worth taking a peek at the website.