Thursday, 5 June 2014

New Inspiration - Cleo.

Cleo is a family-owned and run shop on Kildare Street in Dublin. Many will know it, will have passed by it many a time. It appears touristy and is, thus, easily written off but it has been an important part of dress in Ireland for near on a century now. I'll do a separate post soon on the store and the treasure trove that it is but today I want to talk about a catalogue they produced in the nineties.

One of my lecturers, Hilary O'Kelly, has just written a book on the store (the go-to for more info and a great read) and weeks ago she gave us a lecture on it as part of one of our modules and to test out the topic for talks. The story of the shop I walked by mindlessly on my way to work each week was fascinating. The clientele included (among many other fashion icons and celebrities) Mrs Cary Grant and Carmel Snow. It had moved with all the shifts in the Irish and international economy and had managed to survive when others had not. And then Hilary showed us the aforementioned catalogue images. If I wasn't hooked already, this was the deal-breaker. It was like clouds clearing in my mind, a eureka moment. Here was what I had been looking for. Practicality. Ease. Timelessness. Rugged beauty.

The images were photographed by the now acclaimed Mike Bunn and styled by Elizabeth Clare with the Irish countryside of Delphi, Co Mayo as its backdrop. They are rich, striking images that may not be "fashionable" but are certainly stylish. It's a world that sucks me in, one where we invest in pieces and things last. Where there's that Hemingway sense of "honesty". Where tradition lives and breathes around us and beauty is in embracing the natural.

The images just speak to me in ways I cannot even express. They excite me. Make me want to invest in knitwear come A/W and try something not new but new to me. The way of dressing aligns with my love of normcore and restraint but with a fresh spin on it that's less gimmick more like growing up. Or perhaps I'm admitting that, at heart, I'm a little bit of a hippy.

Either which way, enjoy. Be captivated and join my little club of imagination where climbing mountains isn't sweaty, icky work and roaming the enchanting wilderness of Ireland styled in kniwear to perfection is totally commonplace.



Check Cleo out on facebook and do pop in! Anyone else feeling the clothes as much as me?

(Images courtesy of Cleo)


  1. Thank you so much for your beautiful article :) We have Cleo book waiting for you in the shop so pop in any time to collect it :)

  2. No problem! Thanks for all of your help! I actually popped in and grabbed one off Sarah last week. Thanks again, C