Sunday 26 February 2017

Mary Kenny: proud to be a shawlie!

In praise of the oldest, and most versatile garment in the world

Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

I see from Parisian sources that the fashionable winter coat can now be a kind of shawl. My dream outfit from the catwalks is a gorgeous Nina Ricci designer ensemble in multi-coloured pure wool (€3,900): it's a rich, wrap-around shawl which can be worn as a coat.

I adore shawls - I'm a shawlie - and it's great to see that they are now everywhere, from haute couture to Penneys. The shawl is probably the most flexible, versatile and practical garment ever invented: if ever the word "inclusive" could be applied to a piece of apparel, the shawl would surely take the prize.

The shawl can be warm or cool. It can be high fashion and is used by the poorest women in the world. It can be exquisitely decorative, as in the tradition of the Kashmir pashminas from where the shawl derives, or it can be a bread-and-butter knitted covering. A cotton shawl can be a beach covering, and a silk shawl can adorn a ballgown.

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