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Style notes: H&M joins forces with 100-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel

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How wonderful it is to see a real age reversal with the launch, on March 31, of the keenly awaited H&M collaboration with Iris Apfel, an inspiring style icon who celebrated her 100th birthday last year.

A true fashion trailblazer and rebel, Apfel has defined her own very unique look by going against stereotypes and trends. She has enjoyed a fascinating career in textiles and fashion, and Apfel, who has regularly featured in the world’s top 50 best-dressed women list, was a clever choice by the Swedish fashion giant, who see this collection as paying homage to a real fashion original.

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Aquamarine jacket, trousers and slipper shoes from the Iris Apfel X H&M collection

I had the pleasure of meeting Apfel a few years ago in New York when she was attending a supermodel event, and witnessed first-hand her ability to light up a room with her quirky style and skills with clashing colours.

Her view is that “style is about self-expression and, above all, attitude”, something we are all now having to negotiate again, with mixed success. I think a lot of us have lost our nerve a bit. Indecisiveness has crept in, but take a line out of Apfel’s rule book: style is not about money, it’s about how you feel when wearing something.

Now a whole new phalanx of shoppers of all ages get to deep dive into this style veteran’s world when the range goes on sale at H&M’s flagship store on Dublin’s College Green.

One of the standout favourites will be the vivid aquamarine blazer jacket (€149.99) embroidered with garden pea vines — the peas are made with iridescent pearls.

One of three boyfriend-style boxy jackets in the collection, there are matching ankle-grazing trousers (€99.99) and slipper-style shoes (€149.99) with crystal brooch embellishment in the aquamarine print. Be warned, the shoes are an online-only purchase.

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The floral blouse and maxi tiered skirt

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I fully expect a lot of shoppers will be trying to chase down the floral blouse (€49.99) and matching maxi tiered skirt (€149.99) along with the acid green and violet jacquard jacket with an oversized feather pattern (€149.99).

There’s a fuzzy green cropped jacket with a floral-print lining (€99.99), but the real drama queen is a voluminous, violet jacket with theatrical tulle swirls (€249.99), which is the most expensive piece in the collection.

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The acid green and violet jacquard jacket

Apfel is, of course, famous for her signature eyewear. However, there are no spectacle frames or sunglasses in the range. Her bespectacled face pops up on earrings, and an orange bodysuit with black trim features a graphic of her iconic round glasses. At €19.99, it is the least-expensive piece in the collection. hm.com

The FéRí tale continues

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The ‘Trudi’ and ‘Ellie’ dresses from the new FéRí Seashell collection. Picture: Zoe Ardiff

The new Seashell collection from the ridiculously talented Faye-Anna Rochford, founder of FéRí, is the epitome of sustainable comfort and what the designer calls “nonchalant with an undertone of Californian bohemia”.

Rochford’s unique selling point is her original, hand-painted prints, and this season, as she starts to sell her label in stores, as well as on her website, there’s a lot of appreciation for her soothing colour palette.

The designer brings bias-cut femininity to her dresses, like the ‘Trudi’ with coral flower print and contrasting lace (€349), and the ‘Ellie’, featuring a flutter sleeve and tangerine embroidered hearts across the empire line (€365).

They are both made in organic orange crepe, which drapes like silk and is made by extracting the cellulose from the fibers of citrus fruit by-products.

The mix of boho styles is quite compelling, with lots of nostalgia. Some styles are made in a cool, organic cotton.

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The ‘Alex’ jumpsuit and the ‘Kayla’ smock dress. Picture: Zoe Ardiff

There’s the ‘Kayla’ smock dress with rainbow embroidery sleeves (€259), and the ‘Alex’ jumpsuit with striking open back (€259). Her ‘Sive’ top with pin-tuck detail has pretty embroidery and vintage lace trims (€198). Ticking the box for the smart-casual summer dress, the ‘Sara’ blue and white strappy look with contrasting scallop trim (€315) is pretty perfect.

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The ‘Sara’ dress and the ‘Katie’ top with the ‘Joy’ skirt. Picture: Zoe Ardiff

This collection has new short dresses and a 1970s-inspired ‘Loah’ top (€225) with Dori embroidery and flared sleeves. The ‘Katie’ top features a patchwork of hand-painted prints on organic orange crepe (€225) and works great with shorts, jeans or the ‘Joy’ white tiered skirt with embroidered flowers (€269).

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The ‘Loah’ top. Picture: Zoe Ardiff

A native of Co Wexford, Rochford’s impressive career has taken the NCAD graduate from Penneys in Dublin to Diane von Fürstenberg in New York and Free People in Philadelphia. Back home and living on a farm with her husband and their two young children, she got the best day of the summer to photograph her campaign last July, and there’s lots of personal touches included, from The Shell Cottage in Cullenstown to corn fields against a backdrop of the Saltee Islands and the VW camper van herself and her husband drove around Europe. feri.ie

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