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‘There’s always something going right or wrong’ – Susan Moylett on 40 years in business and moving from punk to panties

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Luxury lingerie is not something you tend to associate with the avant-garde punk-rock movement, but Susan Moylett broke the mould with her fashion journey from No Romance to Susan Hunter

“Attention to detail is what’s kept us open, and a huge amount of luck,” says Susan Moylett.

Full Length Silk Nightgown, €410, Marjolaine, susanhunter.ie

Balconette bra, €120, Andres Sarda, susanhunter.ie

Silk Satin slip, €380, Marjolaine, susanhunter.ie

The luxury lingerie boutique Susan Hunter has stood in Dublin’s Westbury Mall for 40 years, but has a somewhat unlikely backstory. Shop owner Susan Moylett tells me how this ultra-feminine location developed out of her punk-rock roots.

“I was living in London at the time punk had exploded — it was so long ago, I don’t actually remember when!” laughs Moylett. “Me and my sister Regine were so young and naive, we said, ‘Let’s open a shop!’ When you’re young, you’re fearless — you have nothing to lose. We went to London to figure out where people were getting their stock. There was a great burst of creativity there at the time.”

The sisters’ equally creative brother Johnnie, founder of The Boomtown Rats, came up with the name ‘No Romance’. The sister duo stocked brands such as Vivienne Westwood, BOY and Lloyd Johnson in their cutting-edge Dublin punk-fashion store. “No Romance lasted six years,” Moylett recalls. “I opened Susan Hunter in 1984 and closed No Romance in 1985. I had gotten married, I was a bit older; No Romance was very much young fashion and on the button. I didn’t want to be a person asking, ‘What do the kids want?’ I wanted to sell what I wanted.

Silk Satin slip, €380, Marjolaine, susanhunter.ie

“Regine now manages Blur, Damon Albarn and Gorillaz. She also does press for U2,” adds Moylett, who had an encounter with Bono herself when No Romance dressed him back in the day. “It’s only now, 30 years later, you realise… ‘Oh my god, was I standing beside him?’ It’s like the Irish joke of everyone knows everyone.”

​So, what made Moylett move from punk to panties? “When I was getting married, I went into Arnotts to get some lingerie but they didn’t have any sets — it was too exotic,” she smirks. “So I thought, ‘There’s a market there.’ “I opened it with a business partner, Pamela Hunter.” The women combined their names for the store and Susan Hunter was born — a destination for silky lace intimates guaranteed to make anyone feel beautiful from the inside out.

Balconette bra, €120, Andres Sarda, susanhunter.ie

Brick-and-mortars are notoriously difficult to keep open; however, business-savvy Moylett is now celebrating 40 years of her Dublin store.

“Attention to detail is what’s kept us open, and a huge amount of luck,” she says. However, 40 hasn’t come without its struggles.

“In the 1980s, we had the bomb scares — people were afraid to come into town. Then we had the 2008 crash. Someone said to me if you survived the crash, you’d survive Covid. There’s always something going right or wrong.”

Moylett has indeed survived all the bumps along the road. She is now the sole owner of Susan Hunter, which has become a beloved destination for brides-to-be and lovers of luxurious lingerie that has stood the test of time.

You can find Susan Hunter in the Westbury Mall, Dublin 2, or see susanhunter.ie

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