Saturday 29 November 2014

Blushing beauty: summer tips from Louise Kennedy

Bairbre Power talks to Louise Kennedy about styling a successful summer wardrobe

Published 15/06/2014 | 02:30

Jody blush coat in cashmere blend, €1,295
Missy top, €595 and Lena skirt in blush lace, €695
Jolie blush crepe dress with hand beaded pearl starburst on pockets, €895
Daisy top and Dani skirt
Arabella blush silk embossed coat over white ankle grazing jeans

We make our wardrobes pay their way and work hard for us during the summer months, when there's everything from weddings, race meetings and family gatherings to attend, not to mention that annual fashion headache – packing the suitcase for holidays. We load it up, sit on the lid and then jettison half of it because the case is too heavy. But what should we leave out and, more importantly, what should we definitely bring?

Designer Louise Kennedy travels the world for work and pleasure. Her trips to Marrakech and St Petersburg informed her recent fashion collections. She says the key to style success on holiday is to plan looks around four or five strong pieces.

This season, she makes it extra easy for us by choosing one particular colour, blush, for special attention – a love story told in multiple fabrics, from lace, lurex tweeds and cashmere through to jersey and double faced fabric.

Buying a couple of pieces that "give great scope and fit into your professional wardrobe and also into your weekend wardrobe," is vital to achieving a stylish wardrobe, says Louise.

"The key is being able to take each piece and wear it differently, not just once but in a variety of looks," she explains.

It's certainly a liberating, guilt-free approach to treating yourself to luxury pieces that you covet, desire and feel you deserve. Applying the Cost-Per-Wear (CPW) quotient moves you mentally from over-shopping to finding quality, seasonal heroes.

We worked the CPW formula with the 'Arabella' silk coat. Its intricate surface detail will remind you of embossed vintage-style wallpaper. Chic with lace scalloped skirt and heels, but equally stunning dressed down with white ankle grazing jeans, a T-shirt and white Converse.

It's definitely a new take on clothes-for-the-plane, but as Louise maintains, you should choose clothes that look "equally good coming off the plane as they did when you went on".

In her case, the designer favours jersey because of its easy fit and because it's a fabric that teams up effortlessly with others.

Playing around with various looks here, we matched the sleeveless 'Daisy' wool top with white jeans for a casual look and within a few hours, you can push it to feminine chic with a slim line 'Dani' skirt in the same fabric and a string of pearls. Work the same top with a scalloped lace skirt ('Lena') for dinner out and for a VVIP occasion, add a lace top ('Missy') and a ('Jody') cashmere coat.

The inspiration to use blush came about almost by accident. Now firmly established as one of her favourite hues for summer, it is romantic and feminine, suits all skin tones and works perfectly for special occasion dressing. "When I was researching floral notes for our Eau de Parfum last year, I was surrounded by chic petals and that inspired the various hues used in our current collection," says Louise.

Experience colour this summer – you might just blush at all the compliments.

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