Big and bold: Plus size and vintage style dresses for summer

April Miscellany: Deirdre McQuillan’s round-up of news, trends and people in fashion

Big and bold

Masai, one of the most vibrant Danish brands catering for women of all sizes founded in Copenhagen in 1992, keeps a firm focus on five different shapes when it comes to dresses – oversize, straight, bias cut and A-line – which along with tunics and coats are notable for their lively, abstract patterns and prints. Find them online or in any of Wardrobe Plus's stores in Gorey and Ashford. Founded by Aine O'Leary 25 years ago, Wardrobe Plus specialises in affordable fashion in sizes from 16-32, with many well-chosen collections from mostly Danish designers.

Circus stars

Well-known for its modern vintage looks, particularly dresses, Carousel now sells online since the closing of its shops in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Designed in-house and with an emphasis on colourful prints, Circus is stocked in more than 200 stores across Europe and the US. The new spring/summer collection, ethically made and sustainably sourced, contains many items made from leftover deadstock fabrics in floral or polka-dot prints, which makes them affordable and unique from €59-€65 each.

Rocking with Roksanda

The art and fashion collaboration between friends Eva Rothschild and Roksanda Ilinic at London’s Tate Modern showed how both make use of bold structure, silhouettes and colour in different ways. Rothschild, the Dublin-born artist now resident in London whose latest artwork is the Double Rainbow in the Central Bank, created vivid constructions at the Tate as visual enhancements to Ilinic’s summer collection of colour-blocked gowns. One dress from the collection called Brigitte in bright yellow was worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her arrival in Jamaica last month.

First and second

Three sisters, Carmel, Amy and Jodi , are behind a new, understated UK label called Second Summer, soft tailoring made from 100 per cent linen, cotton and biodegradable nylon in capsule collections designed to be versatile and trans-seasonal. These well-designed, flared, linen shorts, for example, cost €150 come in sizes from XS -L, while trousers are €200 and blazers €290.


EU and fast fashion

New laws proposed by the European Commission will mean that Europe will get tough on fast fashion by making the polluter pay. That means charging textile and fashion retailers a fee on every item they sell to deal with waste. It is estimated that mountains of waste clothing are burned or buried at the rate of one truckload every second. The fee proposed, known as EPR (extended producer responsibility), is intended to drive real industry change, boost reuse and ensure that clothes are designed for better durability, repair and recycling. If successful, it will mean that Europe will be the first region to take such action.

Rainy day red

Francis Campelli's macs may be expensive but they are durable, well-constructed and designed to last a lifetime. This knee style in red waterproof cotton is €659 from a range of 25 coats for women (there are 12 for men starting at €595) and comes with a host of details: four-button open cuffs, slanted flapped patch pockets, wool lining on back shoulder, underarm webbed eyelets and etched buttons. Find them in his shop on South William Street in Dublin or on

Elsewhere, Stable of Ireland has stylish macs for city, travel or country wear in shades of ink and olive for around €665. Find them in their Westbury Centre boutique or online at

Strawberries and cream

This cool little necklace from a new Spanish brand called Cashfana is called Fragola and made in Italy from coloured zirconite stones and pearls with a ceramic strawberry made in Sicily. It is 60cm long and one of many enticing items handcrafted in Italy, Colombia and India. Find it on at €55 and check out the cute handpainted Mr & Mrs and Pesce Rosa ceramic earrings for €59.90, also made in Sicily.

Satin days

August Night, Caoimhe Grant's new collection of bags, continues her signature individual use of bows, twists and knots in duchesse satin. This time the colours include daffodil and coral, inspired by the landscapes of artist Jean Duncan. Two new styles join her existing repertoire, called the Bow Sac and the Bow Backpack, and though unconventional in appearance, they are fundamentally practical and designed for "women on the go", she says. They also challenge the notion that satin is only for evening. All are designed and made in Dublin.