Penneys keen to show it's keepin' it real as low-cost retailer unveils latest collections


“We are watching how real people are wearing clothes. We are watching celebrities, bloggers and freestylers – everything is weighted more towards casual wear.”

Ann Marie Cregan, ladies buying director of Penneys/ Primark, was speaking at the unveiling of the low-cost retailer’s extensive spring/ summer collections yesterday in Dublin.

For the first time, the company hosted fashion journalists from all over Europe at the Dublin presentation, an indication of its growing importance in countries such as Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.

Next year it will open stores in Frankfurt and Berlin, and another outlet in the Netherlands. A flagship store is also planned for Madrid in 2014.

Laid-back streetwear

Keen fashion hounds will see the influence of French designer Isabel Marant, known for her laid-back streetwear, in the overall slouchy look, in the cowboy rodeo shirts, in the embellished denim and in the high-top trainers in gold, black and camouflage colours.

Varsity jackets and bomber jackets decorated with beading and fringing captured the vibe of brands such as Iro and American Retro. A typical combination was jog pants worn with a printed mesh vest and fluoro parka, with each item costing less than €20.

For summer, floral motifs have given way to Aztec and photographic-style prints on trousers and jackets. More feminine were shapely little dresses with cutout backs in sequined fabrics, ice-cream brocades or China blue and white print.

Accessories included tortoiseshell shades, black fringed rucksacks and studded baseball caps. In store now are colour-blocked tunic tops, star- print jackets and stretch lace dresses. A standout combination was a black-and-white tropical print jacket with matching skinny pants.