Avoca prints charming

by Deirdre McQuillan


The Avoca woman may conjure up images of the yummy mummy on the school run, but Amanda Pratt, the force behind the Avoca Anthology clothing line, insists the brand wasn’t created with well-heeled ladies of leisure in mind. Rather, she says, it has a broader appeal to working women – including mothers like herself – who want to get away from the tired old uniform of black suits and mannish trousers. With Avoca’s profits for last year up 73 per cent to €2.07 million, it’s hard to disagree.

The Anthology line’s cheery prints and feminine fabrics offer something different, more colourful and more playful, Pratt says. It’s her style and the way she dresses.

As a designer with a magpie eye, her thrills come from her expeditions sourcing fabrics and trimmings that often spark an idea for a collection. That girlish sense of excitement and surprise is what Pratt strives to convey in her work – like the different coloured buttons on a cardigan.

Colour can raise the spirits and energise a wardrobe . If there’s a festival feeling to these clothes, it was intentional, says Pratt of her spring collection .

“I wanted it to be about the summer and the outdoor light, but it’s quite a lot more grown up – these are clothes that can be worn to Oxegen, but also to work.”

Most of the fabrics are unique to Avoca, like the printed jersey Giovanni wrap dress, which is longer than it looks in these photographs and has little elbow ties, a typical Avoca flourish.

Apart from the dress, this collection is mostly comprised of separates, such as the Splatter top with ruched shoulders, worn here with cotton stretch jeans trimmed with the same fabric. A Birds of Paradise print tunic in silk is carefree and sunny , but the same fabric is used in a prim shirt, ideal with skirt or jeans.

A fine mesh silk with embroidery is brought into relief over a dark slip and a French jacquard cotton skirt comes with a bow-tie waist. These are the details that define Pratt’s style.

Just back from sourcing fabrics in Paris for next year’s collection, she has her eye on a feathered fabric for a winter g ilet. In the meantime, this collection will be laun ched on Tuesday and is already a winner in northern Europe and the UK.

“I like the fact that, given that the Scandinavians have so many customers here in Ireland, that now an Irish brand can be sold back to them.”

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