2 weeks ago

Looking The Business: Fashion Plays Its Part

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Extraordinarily beautiful fashion is always at the heart of Look The Business and this year, collections from ten Irish retailers, exquisitely styled by Catherine Condell, made a huge impact on the 30 metre-long catwalk, lit by art deco chandeliers, as 20 models marched its length to the tune of female icons like Beyonce, Stevie Nicks, Whitney Houston and Grace Jones.

Lainey Keogh

Opening the show: an exceptional collection of finest cashmere knits and wraps by Lainey Keogh, in deep colours from purple, saffron, emerald, midnight blue and cerise pink, as well as pure ivory, worn with elegant floor-sweeping silk skirts. No one does fine cashmere like Lainey and the collection was a strong reminder of her talent and commitment to the best materials with the softest, lightest loft, the creative process and the making of her collection, every single piece hand-knitted in Ireland by a small team of knitters. Call 0404 45850; email [email protected]

Electra

New to the Look The Business catwalk was Electra, the chic Parisian-style boutique opened by Sadbh Fahy in Donnybrook just two years ago. Sadbh, who lived in Paris for many years before moving home, is herself the embodiment of French cool, and the labels she stocks reflect her low-key glamour. From a fuchsia knife-pleat skirt by Maison Flaneur, to a black wool coat by Vanessa Bruno, a chic grey blazer and a black silk blazer by Barbara Bui, a fabulous navy and gold satin skirt by Forte Forte, there were so many covetable pieces with a timeless but modern vibe. Understated bags by APC and gorgeous scarves by Pierre Louis Mascia, provide the finishing touch. www.electra.ie

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is always a huge hit at Look The Business, for the breadth and quality of the mix, from Autograph to M&S Collection and Per Una. Tailoring, in smart suits and coats, was standout (great neatly cut suits and coats in plaid, cobalt blue and classic camel), along with print silk dresses and a strong velvet collection with tuxedo jackets and softly tailored trousers. There were sequinned shell tops and pretty blouses too, all incredibly wearable pieces to get busy women through the pre-Christmas work event season … www.marksandspencer.com

Magee 1866

Magee 1866, also a new addition to the Look The Business line-up, displayed how their tweed and wool weaving DNA resonates in a collection that is modern and relevant to an Irish and growing international audience. Donegal tweed underpins the collection, along with soft knits and crisp blouses with pussy bows. Other hits were a well-tailored trench, a key item in any professional wardrobe. Our absolute favourite? A burgundy and grey Alexa tweed coat. www.magee1866.com

Avoca

For a work wardrobe with a soft, feminine touch, Avoca delivers graphic print, paisley and floral dresses, worn with soft wool oversize belted coats in gorgeous shades of taupe, teal and coral. From these soft colours to classic camel and cream, Avoca’s own collection of coats is impressive, while carefully selected items from Part Two, Selected Femme, Love Child, One Karen by Simonsen and Second Female complement Avoca’s own designs. For those with an eye to eveningwear, a black velvet jacket, black polka-dot blouses and a black v-neck jacquard dress, also from Avoca’s own collection, stole the show. www.avoca.com

Khan

Deryn Mackay’s Blackrock boutique has long been a destination for women who love a spare and understated style, sleek tailoring and a palette of navy, black, white and taupe, the building block colours in a versatile professional wardrobe. A navy striped coat and navy cropped trousers by SportMax opened the scene, followed by a cool navy scuba dress with zip by Dorothee Schumacher, slim trousers and a pencil skirt by Joseph, and a black Crombie-style coat by Paul Smith. A fabulous white shirt collection, AndTate by Sharon Hoey, featured oversized bows and double cuffs. Khan is also carrying the new Lainey Keogh collection, including a knockout black double-face cashmere coat and simple-but-exquisite black cashmere tops. www.khan.ie

Next

From the striking tonal opener, a camel double-breasted coat worn over camel trousers and a camel polo-neck sweater, all from the new Emma Willis Collection, to a glamorous red wrap jumpsuit, this season Next has all aspects of desk to dinner dressing covered. A black tailored jacket worn over a silver lurex sweater and skirt felt like the perfect mood-lifting Friday night number. A camel, black and beige block colour coat and a black and white houndstooth coat were other highlights, while a flattering soft powder-blue herringbone tweed coat was on many women’s wishlists. Expect a run on this …. www.next.ie

Kildare Village

Kildare Village is always on the radar for professional women, with a range of labels that suit the work wardrobe, including serious pieces from Diane Von Furstenberg and Escada. A black pinstripe jumpsuit by DVF was both elegant and playful, while a tweed coat, black polo-neck sweater and black jersey trousers reminded us of all that is great about Escada. These two labels were joined by fresh, young pieces by The Kooples, Sandro and Maje. A hot pink corduroy jacket with matching trousers by Sandro, a red plaid coat by The Kooples and a ginger teddy coat by Maje delivered a shot of colour and fun. www.kildarevillage.ie

Louise Kennedy

Black predominated in Louise Kennedy’s collection, with elegant dresses, many of them midi or full-length, demonstrating the attention to cut and detail which distinguishes Louise’s clothes. From the Sasha embroidered tulle dress to the Raquel tiered lace dress, beautiful fabrics stood out. A shot of emerald green in the 1940s style Aubrey dress and the shimmering Naomi trousers, as well as intricate embellishment on the gorgeous Ashley cape, brought extra sparkle to a supremely grown-up and glamorous collection.  www.louisekennedy.com

Samui

Clodagh Shorten knows what her clients want, and that’s an increasingly sophisticated mix of labels, from Rick Owens to Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Etro and Pleats Please By Issey Miyake. Her Cork boutique is a magnet for women who want to wear clothes that are special and different. Also carrying collections from Sacai (a black knife-pleated dress) PAROSH (a black faux fur coat) Paule Ka (standouts were a leopard print sequinned dress and a divine powder pink coat) and Vivetta (an exquisite rose print dress), Samui has beautiful pieces to suit all sorts of clients – as long as when dressing for work or weekends, they appreciate true originality, personality and quality. www.samuifashions.com

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