Romantic and nostalgic was how Brown Thomas described its spring fashion show held Tuesday morning in the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College Dublin, on a set of sand dunes suffused with colour by Dublin sand artist Daniel Doyle.
The clothes, some 90 outfits in all, from top international brands with many references to the 60s, 70s and 80s, seemed destined for glamorous evening occasions and escapist holidays rather than practical everyday city wear right down to the footwear – everything from sequinned kitten heeled mules to raffia espadrilles and chunky sneakers.
Voluminous shapes and exaggerated silhouettes dominated the show. Long blowsy floral pleated skirts at Valentino, oversize capes at Balenciaga, opera coats from Richard Quinn, strapless floor length dresses at Dolce & Gabbana, metallic tents at Roksanda and emerald green goddess gowns at Victoria Beckham were all showpieces - very dreamy and dramatic especially when teamed with crystal hairbands and chandelier earrings at Erdem.
Metallics and sequined décor were flashpoints, most notably and beautifully at Dries Van Noten who opened the show with brocaded coats shouldered with crystal and a particularly eye-catching red and gold trench. Paco Rabanne’s shiny sequined blazers and Balmain’s lurex trousers and tweed jackets were flashier examples of the trend.
If jackets and dresses were the most sold items last winter at department stores worldwide, shorts are set to be the season’s best sellers - cycle shorts worn with a leopard print blazer at Mugler looked sharp and modern. Elsewhere black leather shorts with paperbag waists and oversized blouses were more challenging as were the filmy tartan Bermudas and bandeaus from Khaite, a new US brand.
In such a big show, there were many contrasting looks from a soft and slim print trouser suit at Prada, a white lace dress from Zimmerman, a demure grey/blue day dress from Valentino and a two-tone trench from Bottega Veneta where designer Daniel Lee is considered fashion's new boy wonder. But the stars of this show had to be a trinity of outfits from Dior, a hit parade that included a perfect little black dress and a classic suit with fitted jacket and tulle skirt, styles that remain enduring and sustainable in today's uncertain world.