FASHION:Former ‘Marie Claire’ cover girl Johanna Maher has just turned designer and, with her JM Paris label, will be taking her first collection straight to Dublin, writes DEIRDRE McQUILLAN
IT’S NOT OFTEN that a first fashion collection gets immediately snapped up by buyers, but JM Paris, a new label from a young Irish designer called Johanna Maher, comprising just six dresses, goes on sale in Arnotts today, just a few weeks after it was launched in Dublin.
Maher, a Claudia Schiffer lookalike, not only had the dresses made in Dublin, but also modelled them in Paris, as each one is called after a well-known area of the city, such as Opera, Palais Royal or St Germain. A former successful international model, of Irish and French parents, she worked for Valentino and was a cover girl for Marie Claire and other magazines before chucking in the catwalk to study fashion and interior design at Mod’Art in Paris.
Since then she has worked as a stylist with the French brand Paule Ka, in Paris, where I first met her, in Milan on an Italian interior magazines, for private clients in London and the Hotel Costes in Paris.
Having collaborated with Thomas Roberts, a Milan-based Irish sculptor, designer and jeweller, she has also developed her own range of jewellery, mostly necklaces and decorative feather pins that accompany the collection.
The dresses are quiet and deceptively simple, but are well cut and well finished. Knee-length day dresses are in wool, satin, and wool/silk with a rather funky number in a newspaper print cotton and one long slimline gown in black lace at prices from €299 to €450. “My style,” Maher says, “is Chanel, Givenchy and YSL, all in one.”