Clerys collection puts spring in the Old Lady’s step

First fashion show in years held in Tea Rooms of 160-year-old Dublin store

"The Old Lady has been given a complete facelift and is a young girl again," said Simon Smith, commercial director at Clerys spring fashion show.

Yesterday’s event was the first in many years, staged in its parquet floored Tea Rooms.

Now owned by the Gordon Brothers, a Boston investment company, Smith and managing director Dominic Prendergast head up a UK team running the 160-year-old O'Connell Street department store after a flash flood in July caused millions of euros worth of damage.

It took 119 days to complete the restoration of its 120,000sq ft interior which is now spacious and bright.


Brand recognition
"This is my first stop for a coffee and a wander when I come to Dublin," said shopper Tess Hogan from Dundalk who had bought a dress from Sisley and loved the bright colours in the store. Another customer, Linda Jackson from Malaga, was thinking about a bag. "I'd never heard of Clerys before and I think the place looks nice."

The store has 46 concessions (sold spaces) of mostly UK high street brands that represent 70 per cent of its extensive stock .

The show, with 10 models, covered the season’s trends under self-explanatory headings like Tribal, Cruise, Monochrome and Full Bloom – drawn from Windsmoor, Sisley, Vero Moda, Benetton, Warehouse and Oasis; familiar labels stocked elsewhere in the city centre. It is to be hoped that Clerys might source newer and fresher global and Irish brands in coming seasons.

Jungle prints
Beautifully styled by Sinéad Keenan, with soft hairdos threaded with gilt jewellery by Michael Leong, the line-up combined mismatched stripes, patterns and "jungle" prints in a wearable way and at affordable prices, with only a couple of items like a striped jersey coat and one or two machine lace dresses more than €200.

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author