Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: Designer’s SS19 collection brings quiet drama

Neutral shades, plus navy and raspberry, feature in graceful spring-summer range

Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: this is the designer’s largest spring-summer range for the store

Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: this is the designer’s largest spring-summer range for the store

 

Oyster, ivory, khaki, white – four neutral shades – along with navy and raspberry make up the six colours in the first part of Peter O Brien’s newest and largest spring-summer collection for Dunnes Stores, which launched yesterday in its Grafton Street and Cornelscourt branches and online.

The 19 pieces in this graceful collection, called Quiet Drama, are executed with the designer’s customary handwriting and assurance: the neat, detailed tailoring; the swishy pleated dresses and skirts that demand a twirl; and his newest shirts, which are flared and feminine, with pleated hems in khaki or white. “It is much lighter and looser than last year, there is more flou” – the word is French for soft and flowing – “and we have two very pretty dresses in crepe de Chine and viscose, which are very dressmakerish rather than tailored,” O’Brien says.

Trousers are skinny this season rather than wide leg, which smaller women will welcome, and look sharp under a three-button flared coat. “We did skinny pants in winter in black, and they sold out. These are the same shape,” he says. With their raised waist, pockets and saddle-stitch detail, it’s easy to see how such a cut flatters most shapes. As for the skirts, “they can never be full enough for POB”.

This is O’Brien’s second spring-summer collection for Dunnes. With his first he made no bones about the difficulties of designing for this season, with its demands for weddings, races and other special occasions, but ask him if he has learnt much from the previous collection and his instant response is: “Absolutely. I just felt that people wanted something light and easy, so there are quite a few tops and more separates.”

Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: three-button coat, €350
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: ivory three-button coat, €350
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: belted coat, €350
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: belted coat, €350, with skinny trousers, €150
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: pleated wrap skirt, €150
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: pleated navy wrap skirt, €150, with wrap blouse, €120
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: pleated hem shirt, €120
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: pleated hem shirt, €120, skirt €150
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: pleated hem shirt, €120
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: khaki pleated-hem shirt, €120
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: collar top, €120, and A-line skirt, €150
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: ivory collar crop top, €120, and A-line skirt, €150
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: detail of pleated wrap skirt, €150
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes: detail of navy crepe de Chine pleated wrap skirt, €150, and blouse, €120

The skirts are floaty and kilt style, and the only jackets are short and cropped. The second part of the collection, due in April, will feature knitwear – acid-green tie-neck sweaters – and raspberry crepe de Chine button-through dresses.

“When you have a stable of designers everyone has to be different, and we do have beautifully made product, and I am very happy with the quality. For me it is all about the cut and the fabric, and though I would love to push volume and more exaggeration, I am doing it a tiny bit each time.

“Last season there was a whole new wave of customers in their late 20s to 40s – professionals – and we are building on that. Women like the clothes, and they make them feel good, and we are selling [online] to America, France, Belgium, Sweden and even New Zealand.”

Prices start at €60 for the silk scarves in the range – keepsakes – each featuring one of O’Brien’s drawings: grey with a white drawing, ivory with a black/red drawing, and navy with a white drawing. Shirts are €120, trousers and wrap skirts €150, and coats €350.

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