Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Coast S/S 2014 – beyond weddings

It’s one brand that we seem to associate with silk, sequins and shiny satin – but there’s more to Coast than meets the eye

Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 07:30


Poor, poor Coast. It seems that no matter how many truly great collections the UK occasionwear brand cobbles together – of super-cool separates, statement accessories and semi-formal day dresses – we will forever associate it with bridesmaids and wedding guests. (It doesn’t help, of course, that its Stephen’s Green shop is ridiculously pokey and looks a little like a country debs dress shop, without the country debs dress shop owner’s charm.)

But you know what? Fancy dresses sell in an Irish market - just take a look at the changes that have been made at Harvey Nichols in Dundrum. Where it was once a super-cool designer label destination, it has now become a Mecca for formal dresses, with many of the more exciting designers available to order only (but there is a fantastic service whereby you can order anything from the Harvey Nichols website to the Dundrum store with zero obligation to buy).

A quick gander at the brand’s most recent photocall proves that, as much as it may want to get away from its limiting formalwear definition, Coast depends on the wedding and raceday customer for its bread’n'butter sales. Which means it’s up to the good ol’ fashion insiders (ahem) to do a little bit of searching (and some, let’s face it, very rudimentary Polyvore-ing) to sort the wheat from the sequins.

Here’s what a quick search of the brand’s new offerings unearthed: some pretty cool separates that would work really well for that oh-so-ubiquitous “desk to dinner” dressing (next to “duck-egg blue”, that has to be the most-repeated phrase on Xposé). Prices have come down a bit, too; that jacket, for example, is €79 – while the royal blue peplum top is €67 (I’m tempted to call peplum a dead trend, but I do enjoy this colour and the promise it seems to make to flatter all figures).

So whaddya reckon? Are you still convinced Coast is for special occasions only, or have you or your nearest and dearest been venturing inside its hallowed doors for a wider variety of non-occasion?