Crowley caters for that feminine feeling


While Pat Crowley has not yet been called to the White House, she admits to being very active in Washington, New York and Chicago. But Dublin remains her base.

So what do the faithful customers want from this dress designer with the impeccable track record going back several decades? They are feeling feminine, are going for pastels, and have a liking for chiffon and crepes.

Well, according to Pat Crowley, that's what her women want. Sounds extraordinary, but this collection for spring and summer makes sense of it. Crowley is a master at that sort of thing. If there is a wedding looming, a day at the races planned, or some travel ahead, she's your woman.

This is day-into-evening dressing, as good for business as for socialising. It is mostly in lightweight wools or heavy cottons. There are colours galore, pastels and scarlet, black and white.

It is a suit collection with a scattering of pretty dresses. The combined effect of colour, luxurious printed and plain fabrics and great cut make for glamour.

Yet it is also very practical, simple lines in good materials. It is all so easy but takes a lot of flair on the part of the designer. So what if a made-to-measure jacket is £489, and the matching skirt £265? If it does for the wearer what Crowley says it will, then what's money?

The spring/summer collection is a continuation from last season. It is fashionable without being faddy and quite dashing as seen, for instance, in a fitted, zip-up collarless jacket. Put with either a short skirt or trousers and it is a good look, and a young one.

But the main suit is more classic, cleverly intended to cast a clean line over just about any problem nature can come up with. She's good at that sort of kindness.

No one does the pretty thing better. Ankle-length, printed silk georgettes with frills are the stuff of weddings and race days; froth which turns the day into an event. She has them in creamy colours and the more classic navy. Or alternatively, heavy cotton can also be dressy and the sun dress/cocktail dress, with its bandeau bodice and matching jacket, has the cool edge over all comers in spotted green and pale dove grey.

Despite being a smart and expensive collection there is a feeling of casualness and comfort which is welcome. These are clothes to be worn again and again and again. They pack well, are adaptable and give dollops of instant glamour, but not of the overbearing or frightening kind.

Pat Crowley is a great master of her craft and never loses her light touch or understanding of her clients' needs.