Sunday 17 November 2019

Style: Bairbre Power on fashion, frocks, pockets and other adventures

Paul Costelloe Studio for Dunnes Stores
Paul Costelloe Studio for Dunnes Stores
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Frocks are a current fixation of mine so when I met designer Paul Costelloe recently, they were top of my agenda.

Paul always makes for a good interview because he isn't afraid to nail his fashion vision and share it - usually with a memorable quote.

The veteran designer describes his latest Paul Costelloe Living Studio womenswear collection for Dunnes Stores as "very much a mother and daughter collection."

That certainly makes sense, elegant dressing across two generations, occasion wear that will take women to a range of summer occasions and as Paul suggests, "from a wedding to bar mitzvah, Holy Communion and going racing."

But aren't some of the hem lengths a little short perhaps for the 'mothers' shopping, I enquire?

Paul shares none of my fashion police concerns about knees and explains how the dresses are made for a woman of 5ft 6in/ 5ft 7in and too long a hemline would be "frumpy".

"I'm very much for retaining a young, fresh look," says Costelloe. "I didn't want it to look frumpy, it's very easy to step into that situation. It's not Victoria Beckham, long and sad. It's a young collection, it is fresh and I'll stand by it."

Some of the Dunnes shapes arriving into store this month are exactly the same as his S/S15 couture collection pieces which are made to order in London. The A-line 'Rimini' dress (pictured above right in red) may sell hundreds of euros apart from its couture sister (pictured above right in green) but they both share generous fabric and deep pockets. "I always put pockets in everything, it's amazing how relaxed a woman feels wearing something with pockets. With your hands in your pockets, you can take over the world, it's a psychological thing," says the designer.

The tailoring in the new collection is beautifully executed and the pale, sugar frosted tones of pink and ice blues gleam in a fabric blend boasting a combination of silk, linen and cotton and an elegant silhouette harking back to the 1950s. Pricewise, they don't come cheap, with coats at €299, but Costelloe makes it quite clear to me that he is out to woo Irish women who would, in the past, have gone to a department store to find occasion wear or a sharply tailored trouser suit.

"It is very deliberate," says Costelloe. "This is a designer-led collection, it's not produced to fill in a gap. It is a statement of intent."

I've no doubt this designer means business.

I loved what Vogue Williams did with the Umit Kutluk ombre feathered skirt that I brought to our recent Weekend magazine shoot with her.

Fair play to the Bear Grylls Mission: Survive victor, Vogue knew straight away that she loved its quirky, textural look, and better again, that she had the perfect baby blue Lucy Nagle cashmere jumper to go with it. Milliner Jennifer Wrynne created the chic and demure, side-of-the head beaded piece, and a pearl necklace completed Vogue's elegant lady look at the Fairyhouse races last Monday. I'm a huge fan of twinning light knits, with long sleeves casually pushed-up, with skirts boasting volume and interesting surface detail.

No one did it better than style icon Olivia Palmero on her wedding day when she surprised quite a few with her choice of simple cream cashmere sweater with scattered ostrich feathers, white shorts and full tulle skirt overlay that cinched at the waist in layers of satin and silk, all by Carolina Herrera. If no one was expecting this look, they certainly weren't expecting bright cobalt blue Manolo Blahnik heels with crystal buckle - the same pair Carrie Bradshaw wore for her marriage to Mr Big in Sex and the City movie. GO TO: These are some handy fine knits that I found at Coast. Umit Kutluk's feather skirt (€670) is available to buy in blue from his studio at 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 and in pink from Arnotts, Henry Street.


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