Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Arnotts S/S fashion show

On Tuesday, I took myself along to the Arnotts Spring/Summer fashion show to see what the Irish store had to offer for the upcoming season. The main labels, for me, in the store would have to include Ted Baker, Gerard …

Fri, Mar 12, 2010, 13:13


On Tuesday, I took myself along to the Arnotts Spring/Summer fashion show to see what the Irish store had to offer for the upcoming season.

The main labels, for me, in the store would have to include Ted Baker, Gerard Darel, Farhi by Nicole Farhi and the amazing Anglomania by Vivienne Westwood, so I was eager to see a show that would demonstrate the substantial skills of the Arnotts buying team. That said, a fashion show is more than just the sum of its parts – and it’s never just about the clothing. Instead, the show is the best chance a store will have to show off its credentials: the styling, music and models combine to give you an overall view of what the store’s ethos is.

Arnotts? There’s no doubt in my mind, having seen Tuesday’s show, that its target audience is not, well, me – or, at least, the show was not catered to women in their twenties with money to burn and a loyalty to certain labels. Instead, it seemed to have reached a confused juncture where short skirts and footless tights (in the noughties, really?!) combine – with devasting effect.

The show was, not to mince any words, badly styled. The models, who are all “Irish models” in the best sense of the word, and therefore average a size 10-12, with boobs and bums, were dressed in clothing that did not fit them. That’s not to say that the items were too small; on the contrary, several of the girls sashayed (and I’m being kind; will someone please open a model agency in Dublin that teaches its models how to walk really, really well?) down the runway in items that seemed better suited to a size-14 woman in her forties. And, really, if you’re going to target your clothing at certain women, why not use those same women on the catwalk?

Shoes and bags, the most accessible and, arguably, best, items in the show, were not itemised on the show notes – they were all from Arnotts’ shoe and bag level. Well, duh. Anglomania dresses were layered over neon footless tights (again – it makes my heart bleed) and chunky black heels that worked best with workwear and tailoring.

The men’s styling, on the other hand, was fantastic, and showed how Irish men can and should dress, with the limited selection they’re offered (tailored slacks, fine knits and shirts abounded, but in bright, spring colours). Again, the models clunked down the runway, seemingly confused about their lack of hips (so no sashasying) and wondering where exactly to look. Three of them, in particular, were obviously sharing some joke backstage and found it difficult not to laugh – but this was vastly preferable to the others, whose Zoolander poses required some serious averting of the eyes and no small amount of mortification.

In summary? Bad styling, far-from-great models – it’s an Irish thing, and I’m probably a bit snobby about it, but I’d just love to see Assets lose its foothold on the market and for Irish fashion to progress from photocall to something approaching international standard – and odd colour combinations made for an unsavoury experience of what could have been a really excellent showcase. Must try harder.

* But don’t let it put you off; Arnotts has an amazing underwear selection and some really great labels (see above), and one bad show does not a bad collection make.

(And yes, no images until I get back on track – apologies . . . )

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