A triumph of comfort and individuality


To say Nicole Farhi's spring collection is arty, crafty and a bit bohemian is an overstatement. But the loose, bias-cut layers are mildly eccentric and very romantic. They are designed by a woman in her 40s for women in their 40s, and are a triumph of comfort that is also incredibly sophisticated.

The collection, shown in Brown Thomas, is about bias-cut shapes and flow. Nothing is tight, though many things fit in a gentle kind of way. Some are loose. And it is a complete look going from day to evening with hardly any divide.

If shapes are barely there, fabrics and colours are important. Everything is soft, undemanding and kind. Who could not wear the milky pales? Bone, putty, and hemp tones, or the stronger sand, butter and tobacco are undemanding, charming. And there are the gradated blues, from indigo to sky, the gradation sometimes being used on the one garment, giving it individuality, and interest. Or there are the very subtle sage to olive greens, and the occasional burnt orange. Carried out in delicate fine linens, wool, cotton and silks and you've got something special.

The collection includes jackets with elbow-length sleeves and raw edges, some unlined, worn with long, gathered or mini skirts or loose, draw-string trousers. The jacket can be replaced by a biascut, silky-knitted tunic or T-shirt layered in contrasting colours. And there are nifty shift dresses, smart as can be, that go with the rayon cardigan. Length a personal thing.

Even the leathers and suedes are a little different - unlined and unfinished perhaps, and it is this hand-crafted idea, also coming across in the linens and silks, that makes it seem arty and individual. Printed silk georgette evening dresses are gauzy and gorgeous.

The men's range follows the same lines. Here are some good linen mandarin collared jackets, cropped trousers, silk shirts and fine knits. Nicole Farhi's clothes hint and suggest, they never shout, but the result is pretty well perfect. Prices depend on fabrics. Silk, linen and knit dresses are between ú225 and ú245, linen jackets are ú365, in leather they are ú845, and linen trousers are ú110-ú245.