Gúnas for hire: explode into summer colour

Noticeable trend for shorter skirts with mini, micro mini or knee lengths in A-line shapes

“Fashion has a taste for flesh this year”, says Shelly Corkery of the spring collections for 2022. The womenswear director of Brown Thomas points to “a focus on the legs and the body – and bandeau, bra and racerback tops show a lot of torso”, she adds. The noticeable trend is for shorter lengths, particularly in 1960s-era skirt sets with mini, micro mini or knee lengths in A-line shapes that flatter the legs. The shorter bandeau tops add a sporty modern touch to this familiar retro combination, but for those who want an instant wardrobe update, Corkery suggests that a 1990s biker jacket shrugged over a flouncy dress or 1970s flares adds a hard edge. “I love fashion when it is contradictory like that,” she says.

The new season vibrates with bold colour: “there is an explosion of colour because it makes us feel good post pandemic and is so optimistic after a period when everybody has been living in active wear and denim,” she says. This is well illustrated in the store’s latest video by Perry Ogden shot in windy Fuerteventura in January with its seashore line-up of sharply tailored pink trouser suits (Alexander McQueen), clingy green and yellow gowns (Etro and Victoria Beckham) or billowing colour blocked kaftans from Dries Van Noten, Roksanda Illinic and Balmain who makes even functional khakis look glamorous.

What may quicken the heart’s desire are the summer dresses, too many to mention. They stretched from Erdem’s floral printed coat dresses (with matching flamboyant headwear), zesty green and white puff-sleeved drop-waisted numbers from Alessandra Rich to Alaia’s black sheers and Chloe and Alberta Ferretti’s fresh bohemian whites. If there was one dress that summed up carefree sunny days to come it was Zimmerman’s tonal print “Postcard” linen mini dress with sweetheart neckline and pearl tassels.

Those heading to previously postponed weddings, race meetings, communions and other social events in the forthcoming season will be spoiled for choice, though many will be debating the cost of shelling out for a once-off buy and will be considering rental alternatives. For the first time in its newly opened store in Dundrum, Brown Thomas will be offering such a service for customers who want something special at a rental price.


Corkery says that the offer will be a diverse range of occasion wear, some 65 pieces in all ranging in size from 8-16, including a mix of contemporary and designer brands in an offer that she reckons will grow over time. Cost of rental will be based on a percentage of the retail price, and customers can rent for three to four days, eight-10 days or even for a two-week holiday. Purchase will also be an option.

The move is in keeping with a burgeoning taste for the rental model. In 2019 the global clothing rental industry was worth a total of €3.5 billion ($3.9 billion) with Europe and the Americas holding 80 per cent of the market according to a study by data firm Statista quoted by London-based Courier magazine. Both those markets are forecast to more than double in size by 2025.

“It is very exciting,” says Corkery. “You are reading about it everywhere. So it is important for us, about how we can be more sustainable, to see how circular fashion can grow. It’s great to try it – we must explore it. Let’s see how it works.”

Photography by Perry Ogden assisted by Catherine Walsh. Stylist Darren Feeney assisted by Roisin Haines. Hair by Dani Rull. Makeup by Ria Cardosi for Charlotte Tilbury. Models Aria Lilith and Levi Achthoven from The Hive Models, Judy Kinuthia and Josephine Adam, The Monster Management.