Is this the best collection of ‘little black dresses’ in the world?

Rare pieces from the greatest of fashion designers at Sothebys’ sale, leather accessories and hats for the races

Black dresses from the private collection of Didier Ludot in Paris

Black dresses from the private collection of Didier Ludot in Paris

 

Up to 140 little black dresses from the private collection of Didier Ludot in Paris will come up for sale in Sothebys Paris on October 3rd during fashion week. These rare and important pieces from the greatest of fashion designers, mostly dating from the 1950s, are from a collection built up over 40 years. Didier Ludot’s boutique in the Palais Royale in Paris will be well known to lovers of fashion and the haute couture “petites robes noires” (little black dresses) are from Balenciaga, Balmain, Coco Chanel, Patou, Yohji Yamamoto and others with estimates ranging from €500-€5,000.  The little black dress has, according to Sothebys “fascinated couturiers, flattered women and enchanted men for nearly a century” since it made its debut with Chanel in 1926. There are 20 pieces from Christian Dior alone. Visit sothebys.com 

Leather accessories

Una Burke creates wearable leather accessories – belts and bracelets – alongside bolder body decor like harnesses. She showed her latest collection at Create using a new embossed calf leather resembling the scales of snakeskin. It made for some striking red and black totes with her familiar brass fittings along with other bags in fine vegetable tanned leather and others quilted. Her design, materials and workmanship are considered of such a high standard that she is the only Irish fashion designer in the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s latest Portfolio Critical Selection out of a group of 28 applicants. Portfolio is sent to galleries, curators, museums, collectors and cultural institutions worldwide to showcase the highest standards of Irish contemporary making to connect makers with new audiences. Visit unaburke.com and dccoi.ie/portfolio

Steal vs splurge

Spice up your life in these (left) black Stella McCartney ‘Monster’ faux leather boots (€870) or be a 1990s grunge girl in these chunky ankle boots on sale at rivierisland.com for €24 (while stocks last).

Style secret

“When it comes to my wardrobe I’m a man with a plan, I select five to six pieces from the runway each season . I focus on these and work them into my personal style everyday. It’s all about investment buys that I will love forever.”

– Darren Feeney, Group Fashion Stylist, Brown Thomas

Wear it

You don’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford a great bag, especially now that River Island have released a premium collection. The Suki tote with its unique and colourful zebra print is giving us particular joy. Prices start at €60.

Inspired by the sea

Helena Malone worked in finance before her life began as a jewellery designer, but you wouldn’t know that from her pieces. Her latest creative collection, Celestial Mechanics, examines the draw we have to the sea and each piece is created in her Wicklow Street studio with simplicity, consideration and craftsmanship. Malone’s “sketches, fascinations and dreams” are brought to life by her use of traditional Goldsmiths skills. The result is unusual and exquisite pieces that would please any jewellery lover. Goldsmith Celestial Mechanics Rings. Silver small €95; yellow gold small, €250; rose gold medium, €425.

Horses and hats

With the Dublin Horse Show fast approaching (August 9th-13th), milliners and their machines will be hard pressed at the moment and one who has kept ahead in every sense is Kate Betts. An artist and couture milliner who trained with Lina Stein in Mayo, she operates from the Design House in Dawson Street where her jaunty but exquisitely made chapeaux tend to turn heads. She is developing new designs in leather and other materials in response to supply shortages of sinamay, which is famously produced in the Philippines. Since 2016, the Philippine crop has all but been bought up by China where it is now woven and dyed with prices increasing and quality suffering. “But,” says Betts, “milliners adapt and this is where creativity and expertise come into their own: during the German occupation of Paris, milliners took to making hats from wood shavings – though I haven’t resorted to wood shavings yet”, she adds. 

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