With her effortlessly tousled hair and comfortable but chic wardrobe, the Normal People star is everything we need right now, writes Meadhbh McGrath
In an alternate universe, we would be spending this week gushing over the gowns at the Cannes Film Festival, following Gal Gadot's press tour wardrobe for the new Wonder Woman film and still coming down from the high of the Met Gala. Yet with red-carpet events cancelled and everyone shut inside, the fantasy worlds of haute couture and celebrity style have gone very quiet.
Instead, we're getting our fashion fix from socially distanced paparazzi pictures, #WFH Instagram posts and TV shows.
Chief among these stylish series is Normal People, the swoony adaptation of Sally Rooney's literary sensation. And though the sex scenes have generated much conversation, so too have the lead character's wardrobes. Connell's chain has taken on a life of its own, while Marianne has become something of a style icon.
The costume designer Lorna Mugan triumphs in crafting the look of an archetypal Trinity student - vintage corduroy blazers, patterned blouses and silk scarves, topped off with dangling earrings and an artfully smudged smokey eye - but it's her holiday style that has sparked serious wardrobe envy.
In Tuesday's episode, we saw Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) reunite at her parents' villa in Italy, and for all the angsty romance playing out on screen, our hearts were captured by her collection of breezy summer dresses. The strappy black midi has already become a fan favourite, along with Marianne's delicate white eyelet frock and the airy blue gingham shift she wears when greeting Connell. Dublin vintage shop Jenny Vander revealed on Instagram that all three were sourced from the store, and date from the 1950s and 60s.
Watching from home in our leggings and sweatshirts, we can only dream of al fresco dinners in Trieste and gelato on the piazza. Yet while our summers may not pan out like Marianne's, her easy, carefree summer style was a breath of fresh air following weeks of lockdown loungewear. Hers is an unfussy, low-maintenance approach to warm-weather dressing: minimal make-up, hair pulled into a messy bun, well-worn plimsolls and simple jewellery - all the better for letting those pretty sundresses shine.
Marianne's style stands in marked contrast to the Love Island look that has dominated the last few summers. Where the goal for Islanders is to be ostentatiously 'done up', Marianne's look is fresh-faced, clean and deliberately undone. It obviously helps that Edgar-Jones is a great beauty, but as we ease out of quarantine, this is just the kind of wardrobe inspiration we need.
It's also a reminder that you don't need an exotic getaway to swap your athleisure for a laid-back dress in soft cotton or linen. Marianne's love of natural fabrics and vintage clothes indicates her interest in sustainable fashion, and while we can't go digging through the rails just yet, many Irish second-hand stores have set up shop online or on Depop, the marketplace app, for those seeking to emulate her style.
For pure escapism, Killing Eve continues to offer up the goods with Villanelle (played by Jodie Comer) dressed to kill as always, this time with more of a 1970s feel. The third season debut brought us two stellar dresses: a bold blue number with clashing floral patterns by The Vampire's Wife, and a swinging retro-print mini from La DoubleJ, worn with cowboy boots and a fabulous basket bag. We've also seen Villanelle in a psychedelic Halpern suit and a striking metallic-striped jumpsuit, again nodding to the spirit of the era.
It's gloriously maximalist yet bohemian -however fantastical the fashion gets, Villanelle never takes it too seriously, which makes it a particularly delicious watch in these uncertain and largely fashion-free times. For sheer fashion spectacle, this is the only show in town.
Out in the real world, there are some savvy dressers capitalising on the fallow period to turn the most casual outings into fashion moments. Ana de Armas, a star on the rise before quarantine, has shot to fame as one of the few celebrities regularly papped during lockdown, frequently on the arm of her new boyfriend and Deep Water co-star, Ben Affleck.
Where other celebrities are content to walk their dogs in activewear, the Cuban actress has turned every excursion into a low-key fashion show, offering a masterclass in off-duty style.
Standouts include a smocked seersucker maxi dress in monochrome check from cult Scandi label Ganni (dressed down with white trainers and the requisite cloth face mask), an ultra-cool Gucci boilersuit, and a red Zimmerman two-piece. Each new appearance gives fashion fans something to talk about - we're glad someone is feeding the drought.
Vogue Williams is still heading out to work to host her new Sunday radio show at London's Heart Radio studios, making the case for turning the quarantine commute into a weekly fashion parade. Her tie-neck minidress in playful blue and white print from H&M, worn with oversized sunglasses and slouchy knee boots, was a highlight. Vogue favours a vivid palette of eye-popping orange, hot pink and crisp white, and has added some much-needed zest to these glum times - a reminder that a pop of colour truly can frighten away the grey.
Those in isolation, meanwhile, are determined not to sacrifice style while staying home. Adele affirmed the LBD as the dress of the summer in an Instagram post to mark her birthday, with a balloon-sleeved design that illustrated the value of exaggerated shapes and volume in a time when we're seeing each other through screens.
Even Kate Middleton hasn't let a global pandemic get in the way of her royal style, valiantly combatting Zoom fatigue by donning interesting pieces every time she jumps on a call to one of her charity patronages. Her virtual wardrobe strategy has cemented her status as a style icon, setting the template for waist-up dressing with an array of cheery, block-colour tops and dresses, which, over the last two months, have coalesced to form a rainbow in a thoughtful show of support for health workers.
Of course, Kate's wardrobe primarily does the important work of drawing attention to her worthy causes, but crucially for those feeling style-starved, it also gives us something to look at.