Peter O’Brien launches third collection for Dunnes Stores
Designer serves signature fit-and-flare coats and pared-back aesthetic loved by fans
Peter O’Brien for Dunnes Stores: the fit-and-flare coat typical of the designer’s style, €350
Peter O’Brien’s third collection for Dunnes is being launched today at the Grafton Street store. As expected, his signature fit-and-flare coats are evident – none over €350 – along with tuxedos and dresses that have the pared-back aesthetic so characteristic of his style.
Canny fashion hounds will appreciate the value for money in, for instance, a handsome melton coat with a shawl collar, its skirt banded with navy velvet – “perfect for the Russian steppes”, the designer quips.
There are 18 pieces in the collection, including four coats. These include one military-style affair, with three rows of buttons and a circular skirt, and another with more dramatic dropped shoulders with lantern sleeves in grey crepe.
I love a bit of drama, but I also like quiet clothes – I like dresses with collars, sleeves and belts, whether you are cleaning the kitchen floor or going to the Oscars
Customers also have a choice of three styles of white shirt; one is slightly oversized, with narrow accordion pleats; another is an easy-to-wear standalone style; and the third is quite fitted, with a detachable bow to suit a different shape.
Last winter O’Brien’s navy crepe de Chine dresses were a sell-out; this time his dresses have more flounce and flou – or flow – with chiffon insets. Maybe such flou will fly this time, too.
Knitwear is new this season. There are classic merino sweaters with shots of absinthe green on navy and grey and, with an ironic nod to sportswear motifs, go-faster stripes. “I prefer merino to cashmere, as it is more hard-wearing and has a clean finish,” the designer says.
Understated drama and his familiar dark spectrum – navy, grey, black – are characteristic of O’Brien’s approach to design, and with all his theatrical experience he can handle it with assurance and aplomb.
He says that designing for Dunnes has always, in part, been “trial and error, because your collections are in a different context, so you are testing the waters. I find that if I am true to myself, and do what I do instinctively, it works best. I love a bit of drama, but I also like quiet clothes – I like dresses with collars, sleeves and belts, and whether you are cleaning the kitchen floor or going to the Oscars, I still stick with collars, sleeves and belts – just the shapes I like.”
Good fabrics are also central to his collections, and “metres and metres” of crepe de Chine are par for the course in some dresses. “I think that posh clothes should be a better version of what you wear every day.”