The recalibration of the M&S offer is one of the more interesting retail stories to watch as the high street shifts and customers pivot between online and bricks-and-mortar shopping.
ith an upcoming Irish holiday in mind, last week, I was a woman on a mission, which is why I headed straight to the Jervis Centre. It’s only up the road from work and I’ve got to know the brand mix there quite well, picking up pieces from Stradivarius, Vila, Bershka and Timberland for myself and my family.
I have to throw a bouquet at centre stalwart Marks & Spencer this season, though. It is on fire when it comes to its selection of dresses, and on my shopping trip — during which I was on the lookout for comfy and colourful — it was hard not to bring home an armful because the prices were affordable and the colour palette was so uplifting.
Give me a maxi or long dress any day, so I was all about the multi-layered maxi dress (above). It is an absolute showstopper.
We have come to expect some surprises in M&S, and I, for one, am thrilled that it stocks Jaeger, which is a very solid tailoring brand and especially brilliant for winter coats and jackets.
However, for the purposes of holidaywear, I was interested to see how the Nobody’s Child dresses felt in my hand after ogling them online on M&S’ UK website.
The M&S store in the Jervis centre is the only Irish store in the M&S chain in Ireland which stocks the Nobody’s Child label.
This is an eco-conscious women’s label founded in 2015, and Jody Plows heads up the company, which aims for zero waste in its capsule collection. The dresses I tried on were in gorgeous summer prints. They had a flattering cut, short sleeves — that easy, thrown-on summer dressing — and were well priced at €67.
This brand uses organic cotton and Lenzing. I’m told that the range will be up on the Irish M&S website shortly.
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She’s only gone and done it again. Nicki Hoyne’s new shoe collection is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and, best of all, there isn’t a high heel in sight.
The Kilkenny woman has an absolute gift for making flat shoes look totally glam. Nicki’s latest collection includes five new colourways in her very popular Tassel Flats. She has also introduced a new style, the Mary Jane Mule, which was born from putting a spin on two classics — the Mary Jane and the mule — and comes with a strap in a contrasting colourway.
The Mary Jane Mule is available in red suede with purple strap, teal suede with neon pink strap, leopard-print pony hair with black strap, silver glitter with teal strap, and white glitter and black paint splatter with black strap.
The new Tassel Flat colourways are leopard-print pony hair with black tassel, silver glitter with teal tassel, white glitter with a black paint splatter and black tassel, teal suede with neon pink tassel, and purple with red tassel.
Chatting with Nicki, it’s clear that her focus is on producing a collection that has as little an impact on the planet as possible. Her shoes are made in Spain by skilled master craftspeople using ethically sourced local materials. The shoes are available in sizes 36-43, priced from €200. nickihoyne.com
Whistles has always had a place in my heart because, over the years, whenever I’ve treated myself to pieces, they have lasted exceedingly well and brought joy along the way. The brand’s latest collection to catch my eye is a new limited-edition collaboration with the silk brand Hai.
Hai was founded four years ago by Tessa Vermeulen, and initially the company was known for its cult bags, but it has expanded into ready-to-wear and accessories.
‘Hai’ comes from the Mandarin word for sea, and this new capsule collection features 13 signature pieces in 100pc silk. It’s a mix-and-match collection made with luxe-feel fabric in truly striking colours which have been reworked to echo the tones in Whistles’ own SS22 colour palette.
Star of the Hai collab is the classic slip dress (€227), the most expensive piece in the collection, in striking lime green silk, which you can accessorise with a matching ‘Gina’ drawstring pouch bag (€147.20) in the same colour or in a clashing hot pink.
There are three bag styles in shades of lilac, green, pink and chocolate brown. The collection also includes a bias-cut, body-skimming silk skirt (€147.20) in lilac. The entry price point is €29 for scrunchies. whistles.com