I first met Kate Gleeson when the stylist daughter and I were shopping for her Debs’ dress in Kate’s shop “Diffusion”, in Clontarf in Dublin. We bought the most beautiful dress there by an up-and-coming designer. Kate stocked some of the top designers such as Dolce and Gabbana and catered for an affluent clientele. It was the go-to place for presidents and celebrities and ordinary folk looking for something special! At the last minute, my daughter decided to design and make her own dress. Now that’s another story.
Fast forward fifteen years; the daughter is a stylist and has brought out two boot collections and frequently re-designs thrift and vintage finds while Kate has closed her shop and now caters for a different customer with her online boutique www.diffusion.ie
Whereas Kate previously stocked a lot of occasion wear, now she goes for a more casual vibe, clothes that will take you from the school to the shops to lunch with your friends. What has not changed is Kate’s discerning eye. She buys well. She knows what will sell and she knows what her ladies want.
Yes, many of her former ladies now come to Kate or rather to her online shop for their casual easy-dressing clothes, but she also has a totally new customer base, because the clothes are affordable. And that is why her business has really taken off. Think somewhere between High Street and designer and there is a market for that place in between. You can get a floral print mini dress for €59 or a vibrant culotte jumpsuit for €79 . And you won’t meet them coming down the High Street!
I visited Kate at her home, the nerve-centre of all operations, to look at and try on some of the clothes. They looked good online, but were they as good in the flesh? You see, I am not an online shopper. How will I know if it will fit? Will I like the material? I suppose I am scared of the entire process. But it is obvious that many people are not, because below you can see one of her best selling tops. It comes in a few different colours and paired with it are silver, leather brogues also selling very well.
Yes the quality is excellent. Of course it would be. And the fit? Well, here is the really good news. There is an Ask Kate button on the website, where you can get advice from her and benefit from her over twenty years’ experience of dressing the female form. She will guide you in the right direction. You give her your vital statistics, tell her your dilemma and ‘voila’, your own personal stylist, your genie in the bottle will transform you. I don’t know of any other online boutique or store that offers that service or that feedback.
Another cute top that will see you right through the summer is pictured below.
If you need some summer shoes or sandals, then she has plenty to offer at different prices. Pictured above is the label Strive, whose sandals are carefully crafted to provide gentle biomechanical correction and offer support, while improving body alignment. Priced at €85, they are fashionable and good for your posture and the price won’t break the bank.
But I could not resist buying one of her handbags and fell for this amazing yellow in a beautiful suede croc-embossed tote, which I have not left off my arm since I purchased and has been admired by everyone. In fact, I have been stopped in the street twice and asked where I got it! There are plenty of others to choose from, including larger shoppers or smaller clutches also in varying colours. The orange dress was purchased in Michael Kors (last year’s sale) and the trusty kitten heels are Dune.
If like me you are wary of buying online (yes, I am a bit of a dinosaur), there is no need to worry. It is all very straightforward, the site is easily navigated and if for some reason you want to return the item (you have 14 days) then once received at Kate’s end, she credits you straight away. But there is more good news. I have just got a text to say that her next POP-UP shop happens this week – May 11th to 13th – in Top Drawer at Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Dublin.
So POP along and try them on for yourself and get a feel for what is on offer. But if you live too far away, do not be scared, there is no need to stay a shopping online virgin. Just click here and it will bring you straight to shopping heaven.