Dunnes Stores A/W 2019: No frumpy fashion, just styles to suit every woman
The Irish retailer has had a fashion facelift
Dunne Stores A/W 2019: the retailer has heard the call for easy, good value, versatile and desirable pieces
In a surprise move, Dunnes Stores unveiled its autumn offering in a warehouse space in its Dublin headquarters; a first ever for the retailer. Showcasing the stellar line-up of designers, from Paul Costelloe, Helen Steele, and Peter O’Brien, the retailer is attempting to create the idea that it will have everything any woman would need to curate a stylish, hardworking wardrobe for autumn. In short, there’s something for every woman. And with what we saw dangling on the rails at the showcase event today, that is certainly not an exaggeration.
Centred around the concept of one woman, many lives, Dunnes Stores has heard the call for easy, good-value-for-money, versatile, and, most importantly, desirable pieces that women are actually on the search for. Moving away from nondescript styles and frumpy fashion, it is instead dialling-up the design details supported by their diverse roster of individual designers and in-house brands.
Not that Dunnes Stores hasn’t been on the right trajectory for several seasons – in a pointed move to bring a boutique feel to the department store, it has seen a fashion face-lift of sorts with stores revamped and redesigned in the past few years to house the emerging overhauled collections.
For autumn, the perennial favourites – midi-length dresses, check coats, and suiting – that always come back season after season are of course well represented across each of the capsule collection but refreshed and ready to be put together in a completely different way for the wearer.
Peter O’Brien has introduced a reworked tailoring two-piece consisting of a burgundy sculpted polo top and a wide-leg trouser that took centre display in the middle of the showcase. Keeping with his sculptural aesthetic and interest in high-quality fabrics, the press and influencers were all drawn towards an oversized Prince of Wales check coat complete with ivory button detail and bias cut that could be fashioned as a dress coat, or simply left open over a pared back outfit of a t-shirt and jeans.
That spotlight on high-grade, quality pieces was apparent in The Edit by Carolyn Donnelly, with her signature prints weaved through a collection punctuated by strong-silhouetted leather pieces in earthy chocolate brown and classic black. With a pair of straight-leg leather trousers coming in at €149, they can be easily paired with Donnelly’s reshaped classic white shirts or her in-house designed delicate modern-rose print t-shirts.
Lennon Courtney’s printed dresses are also made for multi-wear, with each of their dresses featuring belts to be worn cinched or loose. Disco elements in the form of sequin two-pieces, and a wide-leg jumpsuit that was designed for Sonya’s 50th birthday party and then went into production, are standouts come Christmas time.
But, away from the statement pieces, Lennon’s favourite piece is actually a simple navy shirt dress priced at €89, which is due in stores soon. “It’s the perfect everyday dress, you just know if you have it you’ll constantly pick it up and wear it over and over again. It handles like silk but it is a synethic so it’s really washable.”
Across each collection, there’s that sense of comfort ease of wear, but without sacrificing on the aesthetics. With genuine thought for real women and how they can re-wear and re-work their pieces that they decide to invest in for autumn.
Even from Joanne Hynes, there’s a level or restraint and control. In no-way abandoning her signature embellished and vibrant print mixing, instead Hynes has taken to championing key pieces for the customer in a mini-capsule collection, made for mixing and matching. “What I did with the collection is that I kind of pulled back and said this is the coat, the anorak, the trouser for the season. They all do different things, my collection has always been about that but it’s more coherent in this one.”
Dunnes' homegrown collection, The Gallery, has improved. Its prints are modern and its silhouettes sit in the sweet spot of appealing across the board to women of all ages. One of the signatures is the busy floral printed midaxi, which means midi meets maxi. “It’s meant to be worn longer with your knee-high boots, slouchy boots or a pair of high cowboy boots,” says Gallery designer Annabel Breen.
The most style-conscious of the lot is Savida, where the prints are brighter, lengths are shorter and drops are quicker. Injecting stories every two weeks, it’s aimed at style-savvy 25-35 year olds who are always on the look out for something fresh and new. The stories include camouflage dresses inspired by the Miu Miu catwalks, sequin tops, pea coats, and winter floral midi dresses.