Sunday 20 August 2017

My cultural life: Shelly Corkery, Brown Thomas fashion director

Shelly Corkery
Shelly Corkery
Cristobal Balenciaga
Coco Chanel
Audrey Hepburn

Shelly Corkery is fashion director of the Brown Thomas Group. From Cork, Shelly has been working in fashion since leaving school in the mid-1980s and has been with Brown Thomas for 17 years.

Passionate about Irish design, Shelly launched CREATE seven years ago and the annual celebration of Irish talent has grown year-on-year and now encompasses over 20 new and up-and-coming designers. The installation will run for six weeks from July 3 in Brown Thomas Dublin. Shelly travels all over the world to fashion houses such as Dior, Prada and Gucci to bring the latest collections back to Brown Thomas. She lives in Dublin with her partner and daughter, Cameron.

Film: Sabrina

Audrey Hepburn

The Audrey Hepburn classic Sabrina is one of my favourite films and I could watch it over and over again. Firstly, there is the link to Paris, which is one of my favourite cities and I adore the style of the costuming. All of her clothing in the film is exquisite but the Givenchy gowns that Hepburn (above) personally selected for the film are the most incredible creations. It is a fantastic spectacle and one of the most stunning marriages of style and film, in my opinion.

Play: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

I was fortunate to catch Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? when it returned to the Gate last year for a limited run and I found it very insightful and thought-provoking. The themes are very powerful. You can see why it was such a sensation at the time but also why it remains a landmark drama as the honest examination of relationships and society is still relevant today.

Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga

Cristobal Balenciaga

I've always considered designers are artists and clothes as wearable art. The designer who defines this for me has to be Cristobal Balenciaga (above). A true innovator, he radically altered the fashionable silhouette of women in the mid-20th century. With methodical skill and expert tailoring, he created graceful garments with a fluidity which had not been seen before. The V&A Museum in London is doing a retrospective exhibit of Balenciaga's work entitled Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion.

Art: Impressionism

I am always drawn to Impressionism. I love how light and airy it feels. I was lucky enough to visit the Shchukin Collection Exhibit at the Fondation Louis Vuitton late last year and I was truly blown away to see all of those masterpieces in such a beautiful curated space. The juxtaposition of the 18th Century art in a contemporary sculptural setting was truly an experience I will never forget. Monet, Matisse and Gauguin are definitely my favourite painters but if I had to pick just one piece, it would be Monet's Luncheon on the Grass.

Book: Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

I am always drawn to books about the life of Coco Chanel (above), she is such an intriguing and enigmatic personality. Her story has been as enduring as her designs but always tinged with sadness. I find her superstition fascinating and all of the talismans and lucky charms she collected over the years you can still find referenced in every collection, even today.

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