Wednesday 7 December 2016

Hynes sight: the latest designer collection in Dunnes Stores

Published 19/09/2016 | 02:30

Reversible shearling coat, €900; dress (worn underneath as top), €120;
leather skirt, €250; all Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores. Ponyskin bespoke pumps, €700, equipage for Joanne Hynes (hand-made on bespoke-order basis). Shearling scarf, €120; leather and crystal neckpiece (worn across the body), €100; sparkle socks, €12, all Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores
Reversible shearling coat, €900; dress (worn underneath as top), €120; leather skirt, €250; all Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores. Ponyskin bespoke pumps, €700, equipage for Joanne Hynes (hand-made on bespoke-order basis). Shearling scarf, €120; leather and crystal neckpiece (worn across the body), €100; sparkle socks, €12, all Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores
Satin bomber, €125; dress, €120, both Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores. Ponyskin bespoke pumps, €700, equipage for Joanne Hynes (hand-made on bespoke-order basis). Sparkle socks, €12, Joanne Hynes at Dunnes Stores

When Dunnes Stores came to Joanne Hynes about working with it on a collection, she recalls that Margaret Heffernan told her, "I want you to do you". "That was really important," the designer says now of that freedom to create an undiluted collection, not to have to water down her work. "I wouldn't have done it otherwise," she reflects.

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The first time the retailer approached her was years ago, before designer-retailer collaborations were really a thing. Neither was quite in the right place at the time, and nothing came of it. "We talked again recently, and the timing was just right. I've been given a lot of autonomy; doing what I feel is right in my heart and my gut. Because for me, it's always about instinct. It's one hundred per cent me," Joanne says of this collection.

And that is what is most striking about this first collection, which drops today, in six branches of Dunnes Stores and online. One could be walking into a boutique that sells only Joanne Hynes, the label - which was exactly Joanne's intention. She began working on the line in December of last year in her own studio within Dunnes Stores's headquarters.

This will be Joanne's first full collection since 2013, and it contains over 100 pieces. "We've three children under four," says the designer, who is due her fourth baby when we speak. "So that's a lot going on. I feel it's a bit like a comeback, and I'm better for it," she says of the hiatus, describing how she went from college to setting up her own business immediately. "I balanced out my life a bit more. And then, obviously, having children brings a lot more happiness."

This season is an ode to her greatest hits, "the quintessential elements", she says. The tiger lady, the rabbits, the crystals: all her motifs are there. "Each piece is unique, it's got its own talking point," she explains. "It's about it being really special: the pom-pom coat, the velvet bomber, the leathers, the knitwear. They're all strong and stand on their own, as well as within the collection."

For Joanne, it is always an entire look: the dresses, the accessories, the tights, the shoes. A professor in art college once commented, "You really need to finish the painting," she recalls with a laugh. "I wouldn't be satisfied just to do a few nice dresses. It's always multi-dimensional."

She wanted the line to be aspirational and accessible; "femininity with strength and a modern elegance. I start work on a collection thinking about what the modern woman wants". Joanne is still designing her accessories line for Harvey Nichols London, but for now, "this [Dunnes Stores] is where you buy my clothing. It's the same process; it's just that the platform is different. I've loved the journey. I love doing what I'm doing at the moment".

Photography by  Amy Gwatkin

Words by  Liadan Hynes

Fashion edited by  Constance Harris

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