Shooting street style in Dublin – today’s column
IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT and the streets of Dublin are busier than I’ve seen them in some time, and not just with the usual suits shoving their way up Grafton Street with ruthless determination. We have moved into a different time of …
IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT and the streets of Dublin are busier than I’ve seen them in some time, and not just with the usual suits shoving their way up Grafton Street with ruthless determination. We have moved into a different time of year, one in which the Fringe Festival and Culture Night vied for our attention, right before the dawn of the Dublin Theatre Festival, which started last week and continues for another fortnight.
So this particular Friday evening is all about the amble, as groups of people gather together, walking (with only semi-ruthless determination), talking, and generally enjoying what the city has to offer.
Crowds of people do little to improve the likelihood of spotting someone who is well dressed. For one, you’re faced with that awkward moment where you approach a group of women and single one out – just one – as being stylish enough for these pages. (“Would you mind holding her bag? Thanks.”) The second problem is that that in my estimation there are about 50 well-dressed people in Dublin at any given time. This figure seems never to fluctuate, whether the streets are full or empty: with fuller streets, the task is like Where’s Wally, without the telltale red stripe or friendly West Highland terrier.
The difficulties are compounded – journalist in “isn’t life of spotting stylish people difficult” shocker – by the fact that one never quite knows what one is looking for. When working with a photographer, this can result in a frustrating conversation.
“So,” says Alan Betson, the photographer for the evening. “What are we looking for?”
“Well-dressed people,” I say, helpfully.
“So . . .” says he.
“You know, interesting prints,” says I. His brow furrows.
“Bright colours, eye-catching details, maybe a Breton stripe.” (Always a Breton stripe.)
“Bright colours, okay,” says he.
Concerned he may begin approaching all manner of teenagers in brightly coloured T-shirts, I elaborate.
“Clothes that look like they fit well, maybe good tailoring, nice lengths, interesting shoes or accessories,” says I, getting into the swing of things. “Good hair is always a bonus.”
“I tell you what,” says he. “You just point them out, and I’ll photograph them.”
Jennifer Sutton (centre) from Tipperary is our first spot and seems flattered by the whole thing. Her clashing red patterns – the coat, a gift from her grandmother, and scarf, pilfered from her sister – stand out against a sea of blacks and navies, and she is cute and girly without wearing head-to-toe ribbons. While Sutton convinces the photographer of the “bright colours” argument, he is surely confused by our next spot, Christina Collins (top right), all in black. It’s an old classic but a classic all the same. Her embellished Zara necklace adds the right amount of oomph to her black jacket’n’jeans combo, also from Zara.
Next on the ever-reliable South William Street, Jeannie O’Brien (bottom left) from Tramore is playing the French card in a beige trench and adorable monochrome dress from Urban Outfitters. Her classic sunnies and top-knot are yet more chic touches, and she is keen to point out her badge, from the Hollywood Babylon film club. Across the street, Sabrina Raineri (top left) from Sarzana in Italy stands out for entirely different reasons. Her playful eccentricity may be familiar from fashion weeks across the globe, but in Dublin it stands out. Her sunglasses, which could themselves be mistaken for a high-end Italian brand, are from the Eager Beaver in Temple Bar.
Simon Mee (bottom right), our only man, is taken aback. “I don’t think I’m particularly stylish,” he says, standing back for his close-up. Simplicity is often best, and in a sea of ripped bootcut jeans and hoodies, Mee’s form-fitting separates – from Marks & Spencer and H&M – stand out.
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This article was published today in my Monday fashion page – check out The Irish Times on Mondays for reader queries, must-haves and more fashion witticism than you could shake a stick at.