What fashion trends worked in 2017 and what will roll over into 2018?

What sold in 2017 — and what trends will stay big for the year ahead? Annmarie O’Connor asks the country’s top fashion buyers (spoiler alert: keep those trouser suits and sneakers)

SHELLY CORKERY — FASHION DIRECTOR, BROWN THOMAS

What do you think has been the biggest evolution for fashion this year?

I think the high/low is what fashion is all about now. There’s a huge mix of glamour being brought to the street, especially by Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele. He’s changed the whole thinking 360 degrees, more than anyone has done in a long time.

The cult of sneaker fashion is also phenomenal, worn with everything from a fully-embellished evening dress right through to a track suit. People want to look good and they want to feel good. They also want to move quickly because we have to. Our Gucci and Balenciaga trainers are going out the door: the ones with the crystals on the side, the dagger, the tiger. I think what these brands have done from a point of view of age it’s very inclusive. You see women of 70 and 75 still wearing the Gucci trainer; it’s as accessible for them as it is for an 18-year-old.

What items were popular?

Trainers, the backpack and the GG belt were hugely successful as were labels Balenciaga and Gucci, both of which modernised the past and bought it forward. The Balenciaga cocoon-shaped coats were big, as were the deconstructed denim jackets and easy-to-wear sweatshirts.

Was there anything that didn’t resonate as expected?

Volume was a difficult one. Some brands we’d have to be very careful with as anything too oversized was definitely not commercial. The huge shirts and denim jackets with the big shoulders weren’t that strong, whereas the Balenciaga cocoon coat definitely was. Designer Demna Gvasalia did volume but in a clever way using lightweight fabrics which fall nicely to the body.

What about new talent?

Natasha Levi at Chloé is one to watch. I thought the spring/summer 18 was totally different; it was very young and edgy in a sexy sort of way.

Any predictions for 2018?

Glamour is still huge but there’s more fun, more frivolity — a happy feeling. The world has gone through such change. It’s nearly like a visual escapism. The logo is also big news for 2018, especially Givenchy, Balenciaga and Gucci t-shirts and sweatshirts.

- Brown Thomas, 88-95 Grafton Street; 01-6056666; www.brownthomas.com.

CLODAGH SHORTEN — OWNER, SAMUI

What label surprised you in the way it took off?

Yves Salomon — not that it took off, but in how fast it took off. We’ve stocked the label for many seasons now but this year it really resonated with the customers. The quality is superb though and the coats and jackets are so luxurious.

What do you think has been the biggest transformation for fashion this year?

For a long time, I think, the feminine silhouette was dominant in Ireland but fashion has really pushed a more masculine approach to dressing and we’re seeing a shift towards that styling. Last year, we saw a lot of our customers investing in long or midi-length dresses and skirts and trainers too — our Golden Goose Deluxe Brand range is hugely popular. The oversized man coat has been around for a while but we still find that it sells incredibly well.

What items were popular?

We have staples that always sell — Moncler padded coats; Rick Owens leather jackets and Yves Salomon furs. In terms of fashion, we’ve had several new collections that have really appealed to customers — Coliac shoes arrived instore just before Christmas; and, when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement, a light was shone on Italian label Parosh of which we’re the sole Irish stockists.

Which designers delivered for you?

Dries Van Noten and Marni collections were the big sellers. They’re such sophisticated labels, with serious fashion appeal. The quality, the fabrics, the prints, the colours — they all come together to create really beautiful statement pieces.

Any predictions for 2018?

I think fashion is definitely doing its bit to promote happiness and positivity worldwide. We saw that last year and I’m pretty sure the trend will continue, with lots of bright colours and strong prints. Along the same lines, I think shine and shimmer will be big over the next few months.

We stocked Osman’s show-stopping, silver-sequinned tiered trousers last season — I see a whole lot more of that this year.

- Samui, 17 Drawbridge Street, Cork, 021-4278080; www.samuifashions.com.

AISLING KIRWAN — OWNER, PAPER DOLLS

What trend surprised you in the way it took off?

It would probably be the folkster look. Perseverance London is a new brand at Paper Dolls that sold very well. It’s romantic with lot of embellishment, high collars and velvets. It did well with all ages. It just had an easy appeal, especially the blouses. The blouses did well as did a couture lace black dress; it had a senorita look about it (the designer is Spanish) while still being very folky.

What items were popular?

Our velvet blazer from Diane Von Furstenberg was a big seller.

Was there anything that didn’t resonate as expected?

The sequin trend; the feedback from customers was that they had done it already and had pieces at home. I think people are looking for more bang for their buck and don’t want their clothing to just have a seasonal appeal.

What do you think has been the biggest transformation for fashion this year?

The switch from dresses to trouser suits. People were buying them increasingly for evening events as you could still show your shape and look feminine but be comfortable too. So, the trouser suit became the happy medium between oversized and body con silhouettes. Similarly, a lot of women looking for coats this year did not want them oversized; the look doesn’t suit everybody. Tailoring needs to be that bit more fitted.

Which designers delivered for you?

Diane Von Furstenberg was new for us this year; Jonathan Saunders is designing for her now. For me, it’s still got her colourful bohemian DNA but with a little more edge.

Any predictions for 2018?

I think we’re going to see more wide-legged trousers and jumpsuits for weddings with less of the frou frou wear. Women want to show off their figures; they don’t want to hide them but they don’t want to be poured into something either. People want to go back to being feminine and embracing it so the trouser look will be easy-to-wear but also floaty and feminine

- Paper Dolls, 21-22 Drawbridge Street, Cork; 021-4279716; www.paperdolls.ie.

VALERIE O’NEILL – FASHION BUYING DIRECTOR, ARNOTTS

What trend, item or label surprised you in the way it took off?

We had a very good year and new brand introductions of Michael by Michael Kors, MAX&Co., Set and Millie McIntosh which really captured our customers’ interest. We have also enhanced customer experience by moving our ladies’ shoe offering to the first floor — adjacent to our fashion brands — allowing shoppers to complete their looks more easily.

What do you think has been the biggest transformation for fashion this year?

There is a continued evolution of the trends but we are seeing a notable shift from dresses to the popularity of separates and trouser suits.

‘Dandi’ dress, €250.

What items were popular?

Outerwear, particularly the puffer style jackets and denim were two very important high-performance categories for us.

Was there anything, conversely, that didn’t resonate as expected?

All product categories performed well, especially our Irish designers: Roisin Linnane, Caroline Kilkenny, Niamh O’Neill, Fee G and Helen McAlinden; while denim also saw a lot of renewed interest from customers.

Any predictions for 2018?

Lots of colour will be evident, as will print and colour-blocking. Key looks will be the trouser suit and the wrap midi dress.

- Arnotts, 12 Henry Street; 01-8040400; www.arnotts.ie.

Rolling over for another season

Floral stays big for spring/summer 18, as seen at Dolce & Gabbana.

Annmarie O’Connor rounds up ‘the rollovers’ – the trends that will roll over from 2017 to 2018.

WHEN days are wet and bank accounts dry, our fashion radar goes into hibernation mode. Although spring/summer 18 may be on the horizon; it hasn’t quite reached our wardrobes, which makes it the perfect time to suss out a seasonal style strategy. With trends being oh-so-mercurial, the very thought of change can lure us back into the comfort of head-to-toe black — for life. Every once in a while, though, some trends stick around and the fashion gods grant us a rollover. The result? Keeping ahead of the curve becomes more of a seamless transition rather than a vertigo-inducing yoga bind. Plus, there’s the welcome extension on one’s closet collateral. Win, win.

Whether repurposing current clobber or jonesing for a total refresh, finding direction needn’t be a killjoy. The beauty of this season’s rollover? We get to party on. The spirit of the ’80s and its signature sequins have segued into the warmer months — a boon for night owls and social butterflies. That’s not to say, the more laidback should put a moratorium on sparkle until next December. Far from it. If this season’s styling cues have taught us anything, it’s that opposites attract. Belt a tux blazer over a sequin skirt; pair a tissue-thin polo neck (and platforms) with sequin trousers à la Halpern; or go the full Alexa Carrington and max out that glimmering gúna with elbow gloves and a silk turban. Oh, yeah! For a fresh highstreet hit, Hobbs have hit peak trend with a mesh- hemmed mini (€165) in spring’s power colour — lilac.

For those of a more considered disposition, the predominance of checks is a welcome wardrobe winner. Rigorous, reliable and easy to style, their continued presence on the style circuit adds more heft to spring’s weft. Last season’s traditional Prince of Wales and tweed fabrics may have bowed out but playful plaid and graphic patterns continue to box clever. Make like Victoria Beckham and pair sharp oversized silhouettes with coquettish organza or be brazen like Balenciaga with clashing banker stripes. More dash than cash? Opt for reimagined interpretations in buoyant hues like this classic trench from Penneys – a steal at €40.

Not willing to reinvent the wheel? Ironically looking back always seems to bring us forward which explains the unerring appeal of vintage florals. An unexpected style suitor from the darker months, last season’s popular wallpaper and vintage prints continue in full bloom.

The 2018 bouquet is both flagrant and flirty, with look-at-me layering and brazen accessories creating an irreverent statement of intent. Just look at Dolce & Gabbana’s runway reveal — Instagram gold. Not feeling the millennial vibe? Then make space for a floral tea dress in your wardrobe. Newcomers RIXO London have tapped into the 1930s with the ‘Fedora’ dress (€315) — an era-centric midi anchored in black with a cinched waist and long sleeves. Wear it with a full-length coat and trainers by day (underpinning and Lurex socks optional) or strappy sandals and a cool clutch bag by night.

Should the napping mercury continue to press snooze on your sartorial sass, fear not.

Give your garments a new lease on life with scene-stealing accessories like the can’t-kill-it, won’t-kill- it, super earring. The edifying edict of ‘go bling or go home’ remains constant, as does the lobe décor memo. Lightweight monoliths and maximalist chandeliers still make the grade with the added bonus of upscaling a fuss-free jeans and t-shirt combo. Done and done.

Now that you’ve got your bases covered, foraying into fresh fashion territory should be a breeze. All we have to do now is pray for some sunshine.

STOCKISTS: Hobbs – Dundrum Town Centre 01-2079619; hobbs.co.uk; Penneys – Patrick Street 021-4271936; primark.com; Rixo London – www.rixo.co.uk


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