Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

All for the love of florals

Once upon a time, I counselled against signing up to mailing lists from clothing companies. I was going through what was, in hindsight, a phase – an ill-advised one, during which I pledged not to buy a single consumer item …

Wed, May 19, 2010, 14:15


Once upon a time, I counselled against signing up to mailing lists from clothing companies. I was going through what was, in hindsight, a phase – an ill-advised one, during which I pledged not to buy a single consumer item for a year. What was I thinking?! In my defence, I lasted about two months, two months during which life became very, very dull indeed. (Is that a pathetic reflection of my life, or an accurate reflection of the consumer world in which we reside? Don’t answer, please.)

In any case, back on the mailing list bandwagon I went, with gusto – and while I often ignore the contents of my daily emails (The BEST wedges for SPRING, being an example of the type of heinous randomly capitalised heading that has the power to put me off my Cornflakes), today I decided to open up The Outnet‘s latest offering.

If you haven’t heard (where have you been?), The Outnet is the sale sister of Net-a-Porter, the online retailer that sells high-end fashion labels from Burberry to Stella McCartney, Miu Miu . . . one could go on. On The Outnet, high-end items, perhaps a season or two old, or older (but, often, it doesn’t matter) are sold at a fraction of the original asking price. Today’s email bulletin was alerting me to their latest floral selection (and, oh so easily I am won over by florals, despite my best intentions). To wit:

Clockwise from top left (because it’s my favourite): a gorgeous vintage-inspired Ossie Clark dress, reduced from €608.37 to €304.19. Now, don’t get me wrong, The Outnet is not cheap, and, like any store, you’ll find things that you love, and things that you hate. But for occasionwear (a wedding, perhaps), it does a great line in unusual pieces that you won’t see on anyone else, and you will have the added smugness of knowing that you got it for a discount . . .

Then, Missoni floral wrap dress, reduced from €1,707.15 to €597.50. Missoni is a great, classic label, with colour schemes and patterns that defy the ageing of fashion trends – and the wrap dress is perennially flattering.

Next, a Marc Jacobs strappy dress – which looks to me as if it would be absolutely perfect for the office, with a neat cardi or blazer over, and then mixed up with some jewellery and heels for night-time. It was €1,090 and is now €327. (My heart bleeds at the thought of those people who bought these items full price . . .)

Then an Erdem strapless floral dress. Disclaimer: I feel like this looks a little, dare I say it, cheap on the mannequin (I wish The Outnet would use real models, as I don’t feel that anything can be accurately displayed on an inanimate object), but Erdem’s clothing is so amazingly beautiful in real life. The patterns are understated, almost like watercolours, and the shapes and fits are just stunning. This has 70% off, from €1,688.53 to €506.56.

Following on from that, a really striking Oscar de la Renta silk floral coat, from €1,899.59 to €569.88. This originally struck me as a bit mother of the bridey, but the styling they’ve got going on above, plus my imagination – putting it with a pair of skinny jeans and heels – makes it really versatile. Obviously it’s not going to be for everyone (pink florals have somewhat of a niche market), but it’s definitely a statement piece.

The petal bolero is by Templerley London and is reduced from €533.87 to €213.55 (as I type, I’m saying these out loud as if I’m MCing a fashion show, which is making me feel more than a little insane). Temperley, incidentally, is a great label if you’re looking for a dress for a wedding – isn’t at as high a price point as, say, Prada, and is unusual. Definitely one worth looking into if your budget can stretch to it, and often overlooked.

And last, but not least, a Tibi floral dress – from €303.79 to €151.90. It might not look that unusual (but what hasn’t spawned a thousand high-street copies), but is really well made, gorgeously cut and will go with so much.

The moral of the story? Look in your inbox, consider looking for discount high-end designer gear, and embrace the florals – because they’re not going away any time soon.

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