Saturday 25 February 2017

Love lines - how Susannagh Grogan creates functional beauty

Constance Harris

Silk wrap dress, €486, Diane Von Furstenberg; slim-fit flared jeans, €275, Stella McCartney, both Brown Thomas. 'Tiles' -print classic-square silk headscarf (available from July), €80; small 'Ribbon' -print neck-square scarf (worn on wrist), €80, both Susannagh Grogan.
Silk wrap dress, €486, Diane Von Furstenberg; slim-fit flared jeans, €275, Stella McCartney, both Brown Thomas. 'Tiles' -print classic-square silk headscarf (available from July), €80; small 'Ribbon' -print neck-square scarf (worn on wrist), €80, both Susannagh Grogan.

Those of you who buy glossy magazines can't have failed to notice the sumptuous advertisements by Gucci, which feature the clashing of retro-like prints on clothes styled into evocative ensembles.

Yes, digital print has been around for a while, and designers such as Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto are the most high-profile champions of print.

Irish print designer Susannagh Grogan, a Brown Thomas Create veteran, whose work is on sale in the cool and uber-discerning Anthropologie stores in America, sees digital print as being as limitless as fashion itself.

"Gucci is making print interesting again with that nerd-chic look they are doing, and the models all wearing headscarves," says Susannagh. "But there is always a customer who loves quality and beauty that is timeless."

Susannagh, who is from Wexford originally, but is now Dublin-based, studied design at Chelsea College of Art, London, and then went on to work in design studios there and in New York, before returning to Ireland in 2002. Her prints, which she applies to luxurious silk scarves, wraps and tunics, are mainly floral interpretations, often brightly coloured, and always feminine and pretty.

"I do a lot of florals because I love them. They are pretty; they are forgiving," Susannagh says. "I do two collections each year, and I introduce one core new print. This season, I have a ribbon print and, next autumn, a new tile print. But I try to keep my signature, which is floral and colourful.

"My son just asked me the other day about what inspires me. In the past, I would have gone out and actively looked for inspiration. But I think as you get more experience, you absorb things, things around you - or little things that I may have picked up along the way then find themselves into what I am working on," she says.

"Then sometimes, I will do something really random - like when I see a piece of crockery my mother has in her house - and that will set me off. And I always keep an eye on vogue.com and stay in touch with fashion."

Susannagh's collections are in the finest silk fabrics of varying lengths, from cute neckerchief styles that also look lovely wrapped around the wrist, or tied to a bag; to generous wraps. She has just started making tunics, and she is currently developing a kimono collection. She has some leather pieces, too, that are printed with her designs.

"I try things, such as printed leather, just for fun," says Susannagh. "I try to contain myself, and do what I do and do it well. It is fun to try new things, try them and see. I am launching men's ties next autumn. But the small neck scarf and the classic neck scarf are the core items."

Susannagh Grogan loves her work, creating functional beauty. And above all, she hopes you will love it too.

Photography by  Emily Quinn

Styling by   Aisling Farinella

Fashion  edited by  Constance Harris

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