Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Changes afoot for Coast – check out A/W 2013

The shop we all love to hate – but run to when in a wedding-outfit panic – is promising a revamped collection for A/W. But does it deliver?

Fri, Aug 30, 2013, 07:30


A couple of weeks ago, a group of journalists was invited to London to check out Coast‘s A/W 2013 collection which, we were promised, was going to mark a vast departure for the much-loved “wedding outfit” shop.

As a journalist, the much-promised “big changes” are always a bit of a damp squib. Brands just don’t change all that much – not even Marks & Spencer under Belinda Earl – they just dress things up in different packaging and try to make you excited about it all over again.

But of course, there’s an exception to every rule – and Coast’s A/W preview really did offer something new for the high-street shop we all know and love as the place you go to buy a dress for a wedding (as long as you’re not too concerned about showing up in the same dress as someone else and provided there are no Coast bans on the invite).

Buyers and designers were on-hand to talk us through the transformation, the crux of which is this: the Coast customer shops there, on average, twice a year, always for an occasion. So, understandably, the brains at Coast want to offer something that will get feet in the door more often – so they’ve turned to casualwear to bridge that gap.

When I type “casualwear”, don’t start thinking about jeans and sweats: these are slick separates for the Coast woman: a working woman who cares about, but is not a slavish follower of, trends. She wants good fits, quality fabrics and a little bit of ”edge” (hence the feather trim on the simple black shift top, above right, and the faux leather sleeves on a simple black T-shirt dress, above left, which I now own).

The accessories department has also drunk the Kool-Aid: this is just a sample of what’s going on in the head, wrists and feet areas. Metallics feature heavily (it is coming up to Christmas, after all, God forgive me for uttering the C word in August) and clear Perspex is another regular, giving a high-tech feel to otherwise super-glam neckpieces.

The even better news than all of this is that Coast has lowered its prices in line with its new slummin’-it approach (okay okay, not quite): you should start to see a difference in how its items are priced, with dresses in or around the €100 mark (the faux leather sleeve number is €110, for example) and most jewellery coming in under €50.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Coast without a wedding mention: the bridalwear, which is currently only available in the Dundrum store, should be much more talked-about than it is. I fell in love with these two pieces; the craftsmanship is just top notch, and the little lace dress on the left is so simple and delicate, it would be perfect for the bride who didn’t want to be too bride-y.

In conclusion? It’s definitely worth taking a look at Coast this season – and not just if you have a wedding to go to.