Thursday, 31 March 2016

Manley S/S16

I've wanted to write about Manley S/S16 since the press release arrived in my inbox at the beginning of the month but between several events, work, life, two trips away for the weekend, Paddy's Day and Easter, I've been a little swamped and seemed to spend all of March trying to catch up with myself. Finally, I have managed to get a little more on top of things and can write about this really sweet collection!

Pretty, feminine, a little whimsical - but still cool - and very bright, it is a collection that screams spring and which had me immediately excited for warmer weather and less layers. Bright green, rich blue, bubblegum pink, white and bronze tones run through the collection in bold pops of colour that show Manley's willingness to experiment but remain true to her brand.

The entirety of the collection is inspired by the De Stijl art movement of the 20th century and displays a similar preference for bold geometric shapes, strong colour and a pared back aesthetic but combines it with Manley's characteristic playfulness. It also sees a variety of textures and fabrics, from silk to leather, all together to create interest in lieu of detail, which is sparse, save for the odd cute collar, ruffle or patch.

Overall, it's an exceptionally sweet collection that still has enough edge to make it cool - that pairs sporty and formal elements in a very fresh and decided way. As Ms Manley says of the collection herself, "The beauty is all in the detail with tantalising tonal combinations, sharp design and luxurious fabrics, made to be worn with stylish irreverence".

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(All images courtesy of Manley)

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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Dog Eat Dog (D.EA.D.) S/S16 Presentation

Last Friday evening, as light sheets of rain blew across the most beautiful sunset of the year so far, two friends and I made our way to the Dog Eat Dog Presentation being held in the Green on Red Gallery in Spencer Dock. I always enjoy sharing what I do with my friends and giving them a peek into the fashion world and I've been interested in this Dublin brand for years now, so I was already excited for the presentation.

Thankfully, it didn't disappoint. While I was a little confused when I realised that only five looks were being presented, I loved the setting, set and overall vibe.

Inspired by Thin Lizzy's video for "Chinatown", Oisín Hunt showed his clothes in a pared back version of the video's derelict, messy aesthetic. Palettes, tires and abandoned trolleys were artfully arranged in the white box style gallery, all painted white as well, transforming the inspiration and presenting it anew, turning the "messiness" and "dirtiness" on its head.

Seventies and eighties rock classics blared across the echoing, bare space, further setting the scene of this controlled imagining of rock and roll exuberance and vice. The clothes, themselves, continued the balance of order and chaos. Tracksuits - informal garments with a long connection to lower socio-economic groups and delinquency - are re-imagined as monochromatic, velvety co-ordinating pieces that, paired with the minimal styling, are suddenly more than themselves. They still tell the tale of a Dublin but there is something elegant about them. Likewise, the light wash, paint spattered double-denim looks - which should, in all rights, be montrosities - fit and flatter in a way that elevates them while nodding to a time past. Finally, if anything were to ever evoke the 80s in my mind, it's coloured leather and Hunt's white raw leather coat reminds of something plucked from my father's wardrobe but given a rather more chic spin by skimming the body and dusting over an all black look.

Hunt really has managed to recreate 80s Dublin but make it modern, wearable and cool but just nostalgic enough. I also think it rather commendable that the label presents womenswear for the very first time with garments that are very much unisex - something that is very topical and a direction clothing seems to logically be heading towards.

"Seldom Seen" is a collection that excites me. It may have slightly baffled my friends but I dig it.

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The collection goes on sale online on the 8th of April.

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Monday, 28 March 2016

Galway Fashion Trail S/S 2016

Last November I made my way over to Galway for my first Into The West Blogger Network event, the Galway Fashion Trail. And, not only did I have a wonderful time and enjoy the support/camraderie/craic of this Network of bloggers, but the whole event was so successful, in general, that it was quickly decided to replicate it once more - this time to close out the very first Galway Fashion Week.

So, earlier this month, I packed my bags and headed back to beautiful Galway for the Fashion Innovation Awards, a day of ambling around the city and then a Blogger Breakfast hosted by Colm Quinn BMW before hitting the Galway Fashion Trail for the day.

The lads and ladies at Colm Quinn were super-kind and put on a rather impressive spread for us bloggers while we ran around like lunatics taking selfies and photographing smoothies and beautiful cars...I'm sure we seemed a little insane to outside observers but they were very amiable about the whole thing. And, then, they were nice enough to ferry us all into town in a parade of BMWs, past a bewildered general public. As sponsors of the whole fashion week, they really went above and beyond in making sure everything ran smoothly.

First up on the ITWBN and Galway Now Magazine organised Fashion Trail was The Style Studio at Don't Call Me Dear, an event and occasionwear-focused store with very friendly staff that are intent on helping you find the perfect outfit - no matter the occasion, your age or your shape. The expert team in store is ready to help you style a complete look and will even close the shop down to allow for a private shopping experience should you so desire.

We then moved on to Willow, one of my favourite stores in the city where you can find a really well-curated collection of cool European and Asian labels at a variety of price points in exceptionally cool and well-designed surrounds. You'll find casual clothes downstairs and, upstairs, occasionwear from brands like Ted Baker. Personally, for both Fashion Trails, Willow was the highlight - the coolest, the youngest and most interesting garments in a really pretty setting.

After that, we popped into Choice and spied the pretty dresses, sharp tailoring and elegant ensembles while eating mini-cupcakes and sipping on Prosecco - all enhanced by a showcase of Cathriona King's exceptional millinery pieces.

Once we quickly popped across the road to Kilkenny, we were treated to some more wonderful Irish millinery from Ti Tighe as well as a sampling of the brand's eclectic and masterful mix of Irish design and international brands in pretty florals and bright pops of colour for spring.

But, if you're after colour, Pia is the place for you. Here you'll find flirty dresses perfect for nights out, dressier pieces for special occasions, cute accessories and the ever-popular Freddy Jeans which were all accompanied by the wonderful jewellery of Vivienne Martin. Other stops along the route included Galway fashion institution, Treasure Chest, which saw their characteristically elegant attire paired with the millinery of Suzie Mahony; the wide variety of shoes and hats from Gosh Shoes and The Hat Shop; and Colette Latchford's ever-chic stock, showcased with Brid O'Driscoll's millinery.

To finish off the day, we headed to The Skeff for some delicious little bites and amazing cocktails before I had to hop on a train and head back to Dublin.

Thanks to everyone for having me and all the organisers/stores/models/assistants/designers/fellow bloggers involved - you all really know how to spoil a gal and make her feel welcome!

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