Sunday 25 February 2018

Pretty useful - the Arnotts spring/summer show

Trench coat, Selected Femme, €199; dress, Masai, €125; suede shoes, Senso, €220; suede bag, Coccinelle, €395
Trench coat, Selected Femme, €199; dress, Masai, €125; suede shoes, Senso, €220; suede bag, Coccinelle, €395

The recent Arnotts spring/summer show covered all the fashion trends we expect for this time of year - florals, colour, utility, nautical, boho, and romantic. But what was most noticeable was how wearable these trends had been made to look.

Florals, which can be off-puttingly loud and brash, were chic and accessible, in a palette which had a lot of navy as the base; and in delicate prints. Boho was soft and romantic, without the tribal styles that too often lead this trend into fashion-victim territory. Nautical, which can be ridiculously preppy, was presented with an urban, sports flavour, making it seem far more current.

Tailoring came in relaxed, drapey silhouettes; simple separates; fabulous wide-cut silk and suede trousers from Whistles; great shirts, and beautiful trench coats. The length of the coats-midway between knee and ankle; and their dark palette - olive greens rather than pale tan; made them practical for everything bar winter-coat weather. This tailoring theme, termed the Modern Uniform by the Arnotts' buyers, is what largely features on this week's pages.

"It's a utility-inspired trend, but its definitely taking on a softer, more feminine feel," says Valerie O'Neill, fashion director of Arnotts. "So, little details like exposed shoulders, or deconstructed hemlines, are quite prominent. Shirting is key in this one, as is the shirt dress, which is an easy piece to be dressed up or dressed down."

These are the sort of clothes that add huge value to a wardrobe, will be worn endlessly, that can work appropriately in either the office, or at the weekend with more casual pieces.

"The trench coat is easy because you can layer up underneath, if the weather's not as good as you would like. A really good blazer is always a good investment. It's all about taking pieces and making them work in either a more formal setting or a casual setting. If you've a good blazer, you can wear it at the weekend with a pair of chinos or jeans," Valerie explains.

"As much as we like to think we live in the Riviera, we don't. And we could still be in winter coats in April. And we have to be kind to the Irish complexions; some of the really bright colours and prints may not work on everybody. Navy is always such a great base colour, and it does give a change from what's predominantly autumn/winter - black.

"For me, fashion shouldn't be contrived," says Valerie. "It should be as easy as swapping out a pair of heels for a pair of flats, which can instantly change your look."

The store is constantly adding to its buy, with new labels for this season including Suncoo; Maison Scotch; Karen Millen; Luisa Cerano; Vera Mont; Masai; InWear; and Claudia Strater. Suffice it to say, Arnotts is having a moment.

Photography by  Eilish McCormick

Styling by Sinead keenan

Words by Liadan Hynes

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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