Our fashion editor rounds up the latest style news and fashion trends
The news that Phoebe Philo is to return to fashion and have her own eponymous independent clothing and accessories line was enough to make grown women cry with joy. Heaven knows, her fashion groupies did plenty of weeping with heavy hearts when the news broke three and a half years ago that the British-born designer was leaving Celine after a decade delivering the most stunning designs there, and before that at Chloé. Phoebe’s former bosses, LVMH, have taken a minority stake in the new independent brand, which promises to deliver its first collection next January.
Can you just imagine the flood of requests to be at that debut show?
Some very interesting fashion brands have made it through as finalists in the new Arnotts Pitch ’21 initiative for budding Irish start-up companies and promising brands.
The five, selected from hundreds of applicants, will retail in the Henry Street store and online from October, including the all-important Christmas trading season. The overall winner will win €10,000 and secure a retail space in the store.
Shortlisted brands include Orca Board, a watersports company that was started by Alana Prior and Kevin D’Arcy only last October. In addition to their popular paddleboards, they have ‘Blubber’ changing coats (€129), which come with free personalisation. Next week, Orca Board are launching their eco swimwear called ‘Belooga’. The six-piece collection is made from 79pc recycled plastic and there’s both a sleeveless and a long-sleeved version, costing €59.99 and €64.99 respectively. They come in sizes XS-XXL and in three prints, including ‘Whale’, ‘Wavey Days’ and ‘Baby Shark’. orcaboard.ie
Another finalist in the initiative is JimJams, a company started by Deirdre Adams and her daughters, Siofra and Maeve. Their ‘Love’ and ‘Dede’ print PJs only launched last week and cost €120. jimjams.ie
Also in the mix are Nancy D’s, a new baby-gifts and children’s accessories brand; Pure Clothing, a sustainable clothing brand from Co Mayo; and Thomas’s Trendy Socks — the brainchild of Thomas Barry, an entrepreneur with Down Syndrome, who always wanted to work and sells colourful socks online. He runs the business supported by his dad, Finbar, and nephew Shane; thomp2.com
People have their favourite seasons for fashion and, while I love my winter coats and boots, I will admit I feel I dress more “like me” during the summer months. One of the women to inspire my insatiable love of wearing strong colours in summer — something I rarely do in winter — is Irish woman Rae Feather, who has an incredible reputation for her resort clothing and accessories range.
Many of you will be familiar with her hugely popular personalised straw baskets and sheepskin slippers. Her clothing range this summer is “about bright, beautiful colours that will make us feel confident and happy”, Rae tells me.
The relaxed ‘Dolly’ dress (pictured top) is made from cheesecloth and can be cinched in with a pretty cotton striped belt, or else worn plain but with a pop of colour added by pairing it with the high-impact jacquard ‘Hobo’ bag.
Rae has used cheesecloth in tops too, and for maximum versatility with your purchases, check out her ‘Flutter’ top and ‘Frill’ skirt in pink, which, worn together, are perfect for that “relaxed but dressy” look we are all trying to achieve now. Deliveries are free on orders over €145; raefeather.com
Visiting the Fashion City complex in Ballymount recently to check out new-season stock going into independent boutiques around the country, I happened upon a familiar face I hadn’t seen in years. Linda Robinson is an Irish fashion retail legend, having started her career in the legendary Mirror Mirror shops at age 15.
She now has her own fashion enterprise and, like so many operations during lockdown, she pivoted her business model and now sells directly to the public on social media platforms, as well as to boutiques around the country. For the last year, she has been posting chatty videos about her new stock and is enjoying the response from a whole new audience of customers.
Crazy about colour, her affordable pieces include a range of silky-feel camisoles, which come in a wide variety of hues including pink, handy neutrals, a regal purple and denimy-blue one (€49.99).
They’re made from a rayon/viscose mix, and what I liked were the generous-sized lace straps and trim under the arms that make the world of difference because they hide bra straps brilliantly.
The camis are available to buy through her Fashion By Linda Facebook page, where you will find a list of stockists. Also on Instagram @fashionbylindadublin