Bairbre Power on Cork walks, glam sneakers and other adventures
This week as I prepared to head to Cork for the finals of the Irish Independent Laurels at Curraheen Park tonight, the memories started flooding back of long walks around Cork city with my Nan. We'd head down to the shaky bridge in Fitzgerald's park if it was sunny and while the ratio of stops was probably two churches and four candles to every shop, I loved those trips, a mix of religion and retail rounded off with tea and chocolate slices at Thompsons.
Back then, I remember a particular passion for shoes, driven in no small part by my mum, Anne Crowley. Hours were spent at home in Dublin, pouring over old photos and savouring all the little details like the peep toe, sling back kitten heels and the Dior-esque dress she made for her sister Mary's wedding to Paddy McCarthy (pictured below) on the roof of the Metropole Hotel on McCurtain Street. Last week in London, my heart skipped a beat when I tripped upon a range of retro-styled shoes with peep toes, ankle ties, wedges and flats, straight from those photos I poured over as a child. The Miss L Fire shoe brand is available online but you can also try them on at the Collectif shop in Spitalfields market.
Later that day, I headed to Shoreditch on a very different shoe mission, to meet Irish woman Rose Rankin whose street chic sneakers have just launched. A new premium footwear label, the brand is characterised by understated design and subtle detailing, combined with a love of colour and lots of lovely inserted textures. In the coffee shop, I stroked the metallic silver 'Simmy' mid tops and white 'Coney' low tops with blue cloud pattern on the side before falling head over heels for the turquoise metallic 'Colt' runners with velvet sides. Heart achingly gorg.
"My first collection combines feminine tones, colour pops and metallics to give a playful patchwork aesthetic," explained Rose, who went to boarding school with designer Zoe Jordan which is how I got to hear about her, and her very covetable sneakers. Like myself, her shoe passions started early.
"As a small child growing up in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, I was given a 'perfect' pair of runners. However, the problem was they were pink and being a tomboy I wanted black so I carefully painted them. When it rained, the paint would run-off but I would get my paints out and set to work again. This early memory has stuck and so has the obsession with sneakers and colour."
Meet Rose Rankin, the Irishwoman with her own range of chic sneakers
A sneaker fan since childhood, Rose Rankin has launched her street-chic sneakers for women which sell on her website, roserankin.com from €225-€258. She spotted a gap for handmade luxury sneakers and, after taking classes at Central St Martins, set out to "create beautiful shoes for people who dress feet first." Rose is pictured above with her 'Coney' low-tops on the left in a variety of designs including dot print and grey, gold 'Colt' runners and 'Coney' low-tops with blue clouds pattern. On the above right are 'Simmy' mid-tops in gold, silver and purple and the velvet 'Colt' runner. Pictured are 'Colt' runners.