HomeFashionStyle Notes: Aoife McNamara’s new collection and holiday buys at Belfast’s Victoria...

Style Notes: Aoife McNamara’s new collection and holiday buys at Belfast’s Victoria Square

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Aoife’s collection was inspired “by the profound importance of reconnection with the land and Irish roots.

“My mission has always been to reconnect the fashion industry to nature,” says the 28-year-old from Co Limerick. She believes passionately in reducing her carbon footprint, which is why she has worked with a series of Irish producers, from John Hanly tweeds in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, to McNutt in Donegal for linens.

This season, Aoife has introduced a very exciting element, with knitwear produced in collaboration with IrelandsEye. The family-owned business was started by the O’Sullivan family in Baldoyle, Co Dublin, in 1988.

Aoife’s new 18-piece collection covers luxe tailoring across co-ords, blazers and coats. There are some gorgeous dresses and blouses with unique twists. That means lots of bows (a real Aoife McNamara signature), exaggerated sleeves and intricate button details.

Aoife McNamara ‘Confetti Sprinkles’ dress, €295, and ‘Secrets to Keep’ jumper, €150. Photo: Zoe Ardiff

The big stars for me are the ‘Confetti Sprinkles’ cream short dress (€295), which is made in a woven Italian fibre, and the ‘Dance of Life’ Irish linen dress made in the most glorious shade of coral (€420).

Prices start at €175 for the ‘Rising Sun’ pink skirt, and the trousers in this story cost €190. Other looks include the ‘Adventures Wild’ cream shirt (€225) and the ‘Creamy Cream’ wide-leg trousers in Irish linen (€245).

The ‘Secrets To Keep’ Aran jumpers come in pink and in cream and cost €150, and the big news here is that they are made with cashmere mix so they are really easy on the skin.

Sitting down with Aoife this week, she confirmed that the inspiration for her collection came from Co Clare.

“As always, it starts from Co Clare, from my Irish summer, gardening, sea swimming, hiking and being outdoors. The idea of Remember is all about reconnecting and remembering our connection with nature and remembering our Irish heritage.”

Co-ord jacket, €325, trousers, €245, and waistcoat, €195, from Aoife McNamara. Photo: Zoe Ardiff

The LSAD graduate worked with Marc Jacobs before launching her eponymous brand and opening her cottage store and studio on the Main Street in Adare, Co Limerick, which is also just down the road from the Adare Manor shop, where her designs are also stocked. This is her 10th season in business.

Speaking with the award-winning Ashley McDonnell on her Tech Powered Luxury podcast, Aoife explained how a big part of her ambition is to “really try and redesign the fashion industry at home and abroad to offer more transparent and regenerative and circular fashion where you don’t create any waste.

“Nature is at the core of every single decision I make,” says Aoife.

The team always has some pieces on pre-order to minimise waste and not overproduce — only making what they need for their customers.

‘Rising Sun’ pink corset, €260, and skirt, €175. Photo: Zoe Ardiff

On Tuesday, Aoife is hosting a fashion show at Dublin’s Airfield Farm, a venue that really aligns with her sustainability ethos. Aoife loves the place and takes inspiration from it for her own vegetable garden.

“I only started last year but I love it. I have kale and spinach. It is all about remembering and working with your hands. Anything that brings you back to nature during our day is wonderful.” aoifemcnamara.com; @aoifemcnamarax

Comfortable height

Marco Moreo ‘Camilla’ wedge, €209.95, marcomoreo.com

There’s no mistaking the ribbed-effect platforms from Marco Moreo and, for summer, the ‘Camilla’ in calfskin, upper decorated with hearts, and with a white sole, comes with the extra assurance of a pretty satin bow. marcomoreo.com

Vacation options

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of spending time in Belfast, with long weekends to peruse the many great shops.

I’ve written before about the Hobbs store at the Victoria Square shopping centre, which recently hosted a summer ‘In Flight’ fashion show which had a very clever aircraft-style runway and outfits themed to cover different vacation spots like Ibiza, Milan, Saint-Tropez and Monaco.

Models at the Victoria Square ‘In Flight’ catwalk show wearing a fuchsia suit from Rio Brazil, red suit from Mango, cream suit from Remus Uomo and red dress from Mango. Photo: Collette O’Neill.

The two stylists, Katherine Farries and Rebecca McKinney, did a super job and spotlighted some really useful looks and accessories.

One of my favourites was a coral and cream mini dress with a real Aussie vibe from the Forever Young label at the Frasers store in Victoria Square. I was especially tempted by the Biba ‘Voyage’ luggage, also in Frasers, with its distinctive art nouveau logo.

For fans of the summer suit, I spotted a fab uchsia one at the Rio Brazil store and a red one at Mango and, for the guys, nice summer tailoring at Remus Uomo. victoriasquare.com

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