Tuesday 27 June 2017

Colour me beautiful - dynamic duo on their latest Lennon Courtney SS17 collection

Ahead of Lennon Courtney's keenly anticipated SS17 collection, which exclusively hits Dunnes Stores today, our fashion editor spoke to the dynamic duo about their muse - the everyday Irish woman

Jumpsuit, €119; shoes, €149, all by Lennon Courtney at Dunnes Stores
Jumpsuit, €119; shoes, €149, all by Lennon Courtney at Dunnes Stores
Dynamic duo: Sonia Lennon and Brendan Courtney
Icy blue cotton knit, €79; white culottes, €79
Bucket sleeves are the "detail of interest" on this Raspberry, contrast bow tie dress, €119
Acid yellow tie sateen sleeve top with tie detail on sleeve, €49; white bell skirt with pleated drop waist, €89
Dip waist dress, €119
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

The sell-through value of their seasonal jumpsuit has taught Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney a lot about their customer at Dunnes Stores. She loves jumpsuits. And this season's offering is a real peach with a comfy waist, patch pockets and a cropped leg… all the better to see their ankle-tie print shoes, which have been the subject of lots of positive discourse since Sonya tweeted previews from her bedroom.

"Every time we produce colour, it just walks out," says Sonya, who points out "we were the lunatics who started a business at the height of the recession. Now we know so much more in terms of our capacity, who our girl is, what she is drawn to, what she needs and what she wants. A lot of women when they open their wardrobe door see problems, we wanted them to open their wardrobe and see solutions".

First paired together by RTÉ as co-presenters on Off The Rails, Lennon and Courtney has proved to be a style marriage made in heaven - and the duo now finish each other's sentences. This season, Brendan and Sonya have fine-tuned their collection to include colour, texture, pattern, and embellishment.

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Dynamic duo: Sonia Lennon and Brendan Courtney

"Our collection [which comprises of 30 pieces in total] is limited edition, so not only is it only available in Dunnes Stores, for some pieces, there might only be 50 in existence. We are very determined that lines are not re-run so when it's gone, it's gone.

"We learned that in the first season and that is really important because our woman wants to be wearing something that is exclusive," says Sonya (pictured above with Brendan).

Talking me through the rails at the Dunnes Stores HQ, Sonya says: "We are quite irreverent, we don't take ourselves too seriously. We know what we like and we said from the beginning that our collections would not be inspired by something like the botanics of South America. It's not like that for us - we design for shape, colour, texture, and we design ultimately for the woman who's going to be wearing our clothes."

Brendan adds: "We're not students desperately crawling up a wall looking for inspiration. Our inspiration is the woman we dress, and social media means she can give us instant feedback. Our woman is lots of shapes - we do skirts for bigger hips, we do fitted dresses, we do trousers and culottes and we really try and consider as many shapes as we can.

"When we grow, we'd love to go to larger sizes as quickly as we can. At the moment we go up to 16 and I'd love to do a 20, I really would," he says. "I think our clothes would really suit a woman of size 20. I don't actually think it, I know it, because I've been dressing those women for 15 years and I know what looks good on them."

The €139 yellow jacquard jacket with gold insets on the sides, pictured on our cover this week, is undoubtedly the standout 'hero' piece in the collection. Brendan found the fabric (with its old-school Miu Miu values) on his travels. "I thought 'my wife would like this'," he smiles across at Sonya, like the cat who's brought home the cream.

Describing their designing philosophy, Brendan and Sonya insist "it's not about overt sexuality with us, ever. It's about that simmering sensuality that we love in women. It shouldn't be all on show, it should be eluded to. Our clothes are not about looking sexy for somebody else, it's about feeling great for yourself."

Irish Independent

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