#fridayfocus… Goodbye to the Creation Arcade (1959-2013)

Yesterday, demolition was the fate of Dublin’s first, and once premier shopping arcade, as seen in this post from Broadsheet. Officially opened on the 3 December 1959 by the then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor P.A Brady, T.D. A full report of it’s building, opening and facilities was given in the eponymous magazine, Creation, The Magazine of Fashion and Decor, surely one of the most fascinating remnants of middle-class Ireland during the 1950s and 1960s.

ImageAs this article, published shortly before the arcade opened, it was to be the new doyen of shopping in Dublin, catering for the needs of the modern Irish women, completed with a restaurant, information bureau and telephone kiosks, ‘allowing shoppers to spend the entire day under one rood, in the heart of the city’s fashion centre.’ Furthermore, the building itself was the height of modernity, with the ‘latest’ in lighting, heating and glass facades.

ImageIn January 1960, Creation ran a special feature on the new arcade using this fabulous cover by artist Owen Walsh (1933 – 2002), which was included in an exhibition of the artist’s work last year at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar and at the NCAD Gallery Dublin. Walsh’s cover perfectly embodies the sleek, stylish and fashionable outlook of the magazine and the arcade. In addition to his graphic work, Walsh also contributed reviews of art exhibitions to a few issues of the magazine.

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As well as it’s regular supply of shops and boutiques, the Creation Arcade was also used for fashion events and exhibitions, as seen in the feature below.

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The magazine sought to bring the best of fashion and couture to Dublin, and had regular fashion shoots at Dublin’s modernist landmarks, such as Michael Scott’s Busáras.

ImageAnd what self-respecting women’s mag would be without a regular ‘Bride of the Month’ and fancy Ma-homes feature?!

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Magazines like Creation and places like the now extinct Creation Arcade are a fascinating reminder of the material and consumer culture in Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century, a story not often told in the history of the period.

However, there is something wonderful about the fact that amid the adverts for Dior, silk stockings and the most intricate and constricting looking examples of foundation wear, the age of worrying about heating cost and the potential for leaving the immersion on was just about to dawn…

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