There's something about Iris... since Iris Robinson made her showstopping return to public life during the Queen’s historic State visit to the Republic, Jourdan boutique in south Belfast has been inundated with requests for her figure-hugging jade Gina Bacconi gown.
While Northern Ireland’s re-emerging style queen didn’t quite steal the show from the Queen, Mrs Robinson certainly turned heads with her outfit.
Demand is so great for the £299 ruched fishtail dress, Jourdan owner Pat Jordan Scott has introduced the ‘Iris collection’.
Fashion-savvy women are clamouring for the gown, which is also available in navy and a shorter version priced at £219 that comes in red, navy and jade.
Ms Jordan Scott said the store hasn’t had so much interest in one particular dress since Liz Hurley wore the infamous Gianni Versace safety pin number in 1994.
She said Mrs Robinson has been a customer of her shop for many years and now women of all ages want the Royal visit look for the Irish Derby, weddings and other social events.
“It’s a real knock-out dress and Iris looked great in it,” she said.
“There has been terrific interest from north and south of the border.
“Iris’ style is very elegant, with a modern twist. She’s shown this dress can be worn by women of any age.
“It’s a classic cut, in the style of Dolce and Gabbana.
“A young girl came in to buy it for her honeymoon,” she added.
“It gives the hour-glass figure women desire, and men love the dress too. One man brought his wife into buy it after seeing photographs of Iris.
“Only occasionally does a dress span the generations and suit women of virtually any age.
“It’s covered up but sexy, and such a super look.”
Janet Coulter, senior lecturer in textiles and fashion design at the University of Ulster, said it was a “bold dress for a bold lady”.
“I think no matter what Iris Robinson wore to the State banquet it |was always going to evoke interest, comment and controversy,” she added.
“The figure-hugging, sheath-like dress in jade green with a fishtail bottom was perhaps a little too conspicuous if she was hoping to slip seamlessly back into public life.
“Ruched, straight dresses such as this look best on slim figures and can be very unforgiving on hips and tummies, so definitely not for everyone, but I think Iris gets away with it — just.
“I didn’t like the ‘over-matched’ green earrings, very 1980s. However, the overall tone of green worked very well with Iris’ skin tones and chestnut hair.”
Belfast Fashion Week director Cathy Martin said she isn’t surprised the ‘Iris’ dress is proving popular with fashion-conscious women of all ages.
“I’m not sure Iris has ever been called a ‘fashion icon’, but she certainly dresses well,” she said.
“This particular dress was so poignant because of the occasion; not only was she meeting with the Queen, it debuted her return to the public eye.
“This dress exemplifies affordable luxury and looks great on all shapes, so I’m not surprised that people are queueing up to add this staple to their wardrobe. The girls at Jourdan are great, and no doubt will offer great advice on which colour and length suits you best.”