Just five minutes walk from Grafton Street, Maven on Dublin’s Aungier Street is a well-kept secret amongst those with an eye for beautiful fabric and edgy design. With a gorgeous, last-century Paris meets New York’s East Village interior, Maven was opened by Sharon Beatty in 2008.
Sharon’s background in fashion and film shines through when you see the eclectic mix of Irish and international designers she has hand chosen for Maven. Sian Jacobs for luxurious cashmere, Unicorn for beautiful tailoring and Talula de la Lune for plush leathers and accessories. Exclusive to Maven are N.Y labels Yoon, Gar-de and Silvia Hilman. French label Urbahia is new to Maven this season.
We caught up with the Sharon - to get some expert advice on how to survive the festive season.
Georgina Heffernan: The Christmas party season is here and with it the dilemma of what to wear. Should you haul out the little black dress and add some sparkle? Opt for floor length glitz? What looks should we be wearing this season?
Sharon Beatty: If your little black dress is flattering and you feel great in it, you can give it an edge by teaming it with leather leggings and bright heels, or perhaps a fur gilet. Sian Jacobs does a fabulous cashmere hand-loomed scarf with sequins. Looks great as a wrap or looped casually around the shoulders. Personally, I have a phobia of floor length glitz. Who wants to be remembered for that? Luxurious but casual is a look that works great every season, but especially winter.
GH: What brands are your favourite and why?
SB: My favourite brands are of course, the labels I carry in Maven. I adore Unicorn for beautiful tailoring and Sian Jacobs for cashmere, although it’s turning into a serious addiction. Talula de la Lune is amazing for high-end yet affordable leather accessories. People often chase after me to find out where my bag came from. Best of all this season is my new winter-proof coat by Urbahia. I don’t mind mixing it all up with a bit of Topshop (as long as the fabric feels nice against my skin) or vintage pieces I’ve collected over the years. I love Buffalo on Exchequer Street for stylish shoes and boots.
GH: We all know the little black dress is a favourite option for women who may be trying to disguise those extra pounds or just want to play it safe - can you suggest an alternative?
SB: My favourite alternative is a mid-length silk or cashmere tunic which skims rather than clings. Accessorise with a 1940’s style tailored jacket and belt. You can get away with murder if you have nice legs. Dark tights and heels add length to your silhouette.
GH: What are your must-have accessories this season and how do you suggest wearing them?
SB: The most gorgeous collection of leather, silk-lined gloves in unusual colours arrived in Maven earlier this week. Gives you that preppy Mad Men feeling.
GH: How can you achieve festive chic on the cheap?
SB: Festive chic on the cheap is easy. Raid your grandmother’s old jewellery box for sparkly brooches. Pin sideways to a hat or on a ribbon as a choker.
GH: If you could only afford to buy one item to see you through the party season this year, what, in your opinion would it be?
SB: Red lipstick by Bobbi Brown.
GH: Most women dread the office Christmas party and struggle to find the perfect dress to impress their colleagues, and most importantly, the boss. What’s the best choice for work functions this year?
SB: I would avoid dressing to impress anyone, especially if it’s a stressful situation. It’s much better to feel relaxed and comfortable. Wear something you feel great in, depending on your mood. Nothing worse than someone struggling with cleavage over-spill or straps that falls down. You can’t go wrong with a well-cut dress and glamorous blow-dry.
GH: Is it really possible to wear glitz and sparkle without looking like a Christmas tree?
SB: A little sparkle can look great but you don’t ever want to look like you’re desperate for attention. Remember the Coco Chanel quote, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Probably that granny brooch, come to think of it.
64 Aungier Street
00 353 1 4789226