Fashion review: Helen McAlinden at House of Fraser

Long black dress, �168

Long black dress, �168

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LYNNE McCrossan tries on three samples fom Irish fashion designer Helen McAlinden’s self-titled range

Effortless dressers – we all covet their ability to look chic whatever the conundrum. That’s exactly what Helen McAlinden is, a woman who gets it right personally while passing on her style pedigree to the rest of the world with her exquisite self-titled line at House of Fraser.

Grey kimono, �135; Pencil skirt, �112

Grey kimono, �135; Pencil skirt, �112

Before launching her own collection in 2001, McAlinden had already built an impressive reputation in the industry, working with Ramsay of Dublin and selling into stores such as Brown Thomas, Sacks and Nordstorm in America.

The label’s ethos on contemporary cuts in the finest fabrics breathes new life into traditional textiles – it’s a range tailored-made for classic dressers who long for a modern twist.

My favourite three pieces from this season are easy to wear. I’m now a total McAlinden convert.

The Little Black Dress

Long pale pink coat, �350; Grey tailored trousers, �143.50; Grey chunky knit, �120

Long pale pink coat, �350; Grey tailored trousers, �143.50; Grey chunky knit, �120

Every woman worth her salt has a little black dress hanging up in the wardrobe ready to take her anywhere. The length, cut and material on Helen’s classic frock makes it an must-have. The full skirt and scooped back gives enough drama to attend any back tie event but the comfortableness of this ensemble made me want to reach for my trainers and dress it down for day time. It’s so soft that when you put it on you’ll want to wear it every day.

Contemporary twist

One of the most appealing aspects of McAlinden’s line comes from heritage fabrics given a contemporary kiss of life. The tailoring and suiting is so simplistic that it lends itself to being styled in a totally modern way, breaking age barriers in the process. Mixing cashmere and wool gives a luxurious feel without the need to remortgage. As soon as I set eyes on this kimono jacket I knew it would lend itself to being worn as a top or a jacket. Pairing it with the pencil skirt and some flat shoes just felt right for this season, but let’s be honest - you could wear either of these pieces dressed up or down, for the office or school run, they are that versatile.

Classic weekends

Layering is a ladies best friend this time of year and McAlinden knows it. Each piece in the collection has the ability to steal the spotlight styled solo or work in harmony when stacked together. It is the perfect capsule collection with every item blending in unison for a lovely crisp aesthetic that still remains wearable and feminine. The colour palette of dark and soft greys into blush pink tones breaks the monotony of black during peak winter bleakness, which is a total winner for me.

• Helen McAlinden is available at House of Fraser

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