11 months ago

The Irish Designers to Know Now


What does it take to be successful in fashion nowadays? It’s no longer about designing a wish-list item – though that helps. Success is guaranteed if designers cater for customers across the generations with consistently top quality offerings. Take Carolyn Donnelly’s workwear, Mariad Whisker’s classic coats or London-based Sharon Wauchob’s impeccable tailoring as examples. Other Irish fashion designers who continue to inspire are Connemara-based Alison Conneely and trail blazer Lainey Keogh, both part of CREATE 2019. Not so much re-emerging, more blueprints of vision and timeless style …

Create 2019

Brown Thomas has launched Create 2019. Thirty designers have been chosen, working across womenswear, accessories and homewares. Queen of luxury knitwear, Lainey Keogh (who won’t ever talk about her celebrity clients but suffice to say Beyoncé is one), is returning for her third successive year. Keogh’s clientele is (unusually) mainly international but this year her focus is on her Irish market and a new generation of fans who appreciate her unique luxury, handmade pieces in the finest Italian cashmere of the lightest loft and softness. Keogh has always been true to herself and her authenticity seems to chime with the zeitgeist: “I value more than anything the words “made in Ireland”. I love living here, working with Irish knitters and embroiderers, creating pieces that last forever.” Another noteworthy designer is Alison Conneely, who joins the Create roster with a capsule collection of handcrafted silk and wool garments where contemporary structured form is interspersed with subtle textured panels. Inspired by a visit to The Skelligs, – a former monastic settlement – the collection has a humble, serene and graceful mood. “These designers are the future of Irish design and we are proud to support them by offering a retail platform to showcase their beautiful collections,” says Brown Thomas’ fashion director Shelly Corkery. The 30 designers are showing their products at the Grafton Street flagship store.

Lucy Downes

For more than 20 years, Sphere One has been producing its signature cashmere sweaters and accessories under the creative direction of Lucy Downes. The label’s modern, classic designs are made from the finest cashmere, giving them a luxury appeal. For the latest collection, Downes was inspired by Ordnance Survey maps showing the delicate patterns of contour lines and gradients of colours at the source of the River Liffey, on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains, where Sphere One is based.

Magee 1866

Oversized yet sleek suits are the workwear choice of next season for editors and style mavens alike. Take a style cue from designer Patricia McDyre who has designed a version for Magee 1866, the Donegal-based, fifth generation family business best known for its luxurious finely woven fabrics. “For AW19, I wanted to launch a workwear power suit that only Magee could make. My first port of call was the mill to find a luxury, natural fabric for the suit. I chose a compact wool and cashmere fabric and briefed the team on the colour palette for the retro Glen check I had in mind,” says designer McDyre. The silhouette is dramatic; an elongated, oversized jacket and high-waisted trousers with an ultra-wide hem. In stores this month. Magee 1866, South Anne Street, Dublin 2.

Sharon Wauchob

“I always focus on bringing masculinity towards femininity,” says Northern Irish designer Sharon Wauchob of her eponymous label, founded in 1999. This season, Wauchob explores new techniques in tailoring. From accordion-style pleated skirts to impeccably tailored trousers, jackets, capes and coats, think structured yet relaxed silhouettes and cool, modern detailing.

Aislinn Coffey

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