Frock Advisor

Embellishment and Irish design superstars

(L-R) Coat by Niamh O'Neill, €615. Dloce & Gabbana on the Milan catwalk. Gloves by Paula Rowan.

(L-R) Coat by Niamh O'Neill, €615. Dloce & Gabbana on the Milan catwalk. Gloves by Paula Rowan.


You know embellishment? What is it exactly and is it currently socio-economically acceptable?

Every fashion week season, two tribes gather together to see how their eager puppets perform. Critics, buyers, bloggers and celebrities parade their allegiances on their backs like Crips and Bloods. The segregation is extreme, the aesthetic of all parties is intrinsic and unwavering.

How do these mavens decide which gang they’re in? It’s a matter of aesthetic, line, colour and adornment. In simply terms, whether they are a minimalist or a maximalist? Wow, lofty and impenetrable fashion terminology, this surely doesn’t apply to mere mortals? Oh yes it does, and which camp you belong to effects everything.

A minimalist favours Celine, Cos and concrete, cooing over role models such as Tilda Swinton and John Pawson. A maximalist favours Versace, River Island and gilding, effusing about Anna Dello Russo and pre-revolutionary France.

Minimalists don’t do embellishment, maximalists do.

Embellishment; a decorative detail or feature added to something to make it more attractive (to a maximalist). At it’s worst, embellishment is a low grade ‘relief tile’ purposed with lifting an unremarkable garment into covetability, a meagre cluster of sequins, a small herd of rhinestones. At its best, embellishment gives a humorous, sparkly two fingers to a bland world.

So, is embellishment ‘of the now’? The simple answer is, yes, there is always a place for boldness.

At frockadvisor we encompasses a broad church aesthetic, some call us democratic, others call us fickle. We just like nice stuff, not wanting to miss any potential fashion stimulant. More importantly, we represent you, the true frockadvisors, and know your needs are diverse. So, sear your own retina with the refracted light of embellishment, it’s nearly Christmas!


Everyone’s talking about Irish design being the hot thing, who are the superstars and where can I find them?

Something in our collective national identity has connected with the value of supporting our own. The world now wants provenance. Irish design is on the crest of a fabulous fashion wave right now and not some one-strike tsunami. This has been building for years as our sense of pride in our land and heritage has once again gained value. The global fashion superstars such as Philip Treacy, John Rocha, Orla Kiely and Louise Kennedy have paved the way for the new breed, Simone Rocha, JW Anderson and Tim Ryan. Back home, but moving fast are, Helen Steele, Heidi Higgins, Sean Byrne, Niamh O’Neill and (from the frockadvisor stable) Lennon Courtney.

Clothes are only part of the story; Irish accessory design is also causing a stir. Susannah Grogan’s scarves, Paula Rowan’s gloves, John Shevlin’s hats, Vivien Walsh’s Jewellery all feature in some of the worlds finest stores.

In turn, Irish fashion retailers are now giving the consumer what they want with large-scale annual showcases in Arnotts and Brown Thomas. There is consistent support from such enlightened stores as The Design Centre, Project 51, Om Diva and Bow in Dublin, McBees in Killarney and The Kilkenny Group nationwide. These and many other stores around the country are supporting emerging and established talent in Irish Design. What better way to bring the country back to confidence than through style, look good to feel good, isn’t that what they say?

If you are a fashion retailer, make yourself heard by registering for the forthcoming app. Change the way you search and find fashion at

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