Wednesday 20 June 2018

Finding inspiration... Dublin Fashion Festival photo exhibition

Emily Quinn, Fashion Photographer of the Year at Kerry Fashion Week, travelled to the four corners of Ireland to capture the stunning landscapes that inspire our designers for a Dublin Fashion Festival photo exhibition

Joanne Hynes' photo shoot at Rathnew, county Wicklow
Joanne Hynes' photo shoot at Rathnew, county Wicklow
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

"A few years ago I fell in love with Annie Leibovitz's 'Wild Irish Rose' shoot for American Vogue. Styled by Grace Coddington, it featured one of my favourite models, Daria Werbowy, with actor Adam Driver. The work inspired me, especially seeing the landscape of our beautiful country and it brought me back to my childhood when I used to go on holidays with my parents and grandparents, travelling with my grandfather, Tom, back to his hometown in Kerry.

"And so was born the concept for my next exhibition, to head off with my Canon and Hasselblad cameras and work with Ireland's top designers. As time went on, the concept evolved and broadened to encompass the designer's place of inspiration - sometimes the home county, other times a different Irish landscape that inspired their artistic talent over their career. So in February, with only two images shot, I put the idea of the 'Bring It All Back Home' exhibition to Clyde Carroll, director of communications from Dublin Fashion Festival organisers We Are Dublin Town and his instant reply was 'Let's do it!'

"The first designer I shot with was Helen Steele. Una Burke was photographed when she and her partner Emmet were home from London for a family gathering. The wonderful warm welcome we received from her parents, filling us with tea and the finest food, made us want to stay for the weekend too. Helen Cody wanted to shoot with cherry blossoms, so we quickly got a crew and shoot day together. A very heavy wind didn't make the shooting conditions easy. A passing duo of dogs suddenly found themselves as models! On returning two days later the blossoms had all fallen and the branches were bare.

"Each of the 12 shots were so special to shoot. They all have a story. I feel so very privileged to have the honour of working so closely with so many talented people, like my grooming pal, Susan Dahl, and getting to know the crew on the long drives, and getting to explore parts of Ireland that I never knew about and be blown away by the landscape and the talent that this island has to offer."

'Bring It All Back Home' exhibition runs at The Meeting House, Meeting House Square, Dublin 2 from September 7-13


"I chose the 18th century Hunters Lodge in Rathnew, Co Wicklow as the setting to photograph my work. Both the inside and outside of the coaching lodgings have a magical, wonderful charm. I chose the two-acre garden to photograph my multicoloured knitted woollen cape as the setting has a mystical magical and mysterious tone, and I reflected on all of these qualities and emotions when I designed my knitwear pieces.

"The inside of Hunters lodge is equally as beautiful as the outside. The Sanderson covered chairs and couches in the tea room take me right back to my earlier childhood when we had Sanderson floral curtains and matching couches. We have photographs of birthday parties with the inescapable floral Sanderson pattern in the background. It's like stepping into an inner world of nostalgia for me. I took my daughters along for the shoot which was equally as special as the surroundings."

The cape made in Donegal is available to order from See


"Clonbrock House is the ancestral home of the Dillon family and it is close to where I grew up near the village of Ahascragh in Co Galway. The mansion was burned by fire in the mid-1980s and is now overgrown with ivy. I have great memories of cycling up to the house as a young boy and I was always struck by the beauty and proportions of the large elegant reception rooms where I would admire the artistry of the stucco plasterwork on the walls and ceilings.

"I continue to be amazed by the magnificent skill of the cut-stone Doric portico at the entrance door to the house. The overgrown but elegantly laid out gardens and the faded glamour of the house, and its poetic beauty, proved to be a very inspiring source for my early creative endeavours.

"Emily photographed Eliska, from Catwalk Modelling Agency, in a silver grey embroidered two-piece from my forthcoming AW15 bespoke couture collection. Seeing the dress worn by the model on the day of the shoot I could not help but imagine the ghost-like presence of the Lady of the house on her way out to attend a grand society ball. The all-over fern-like motif on the gown is embroidered with a metallic thread onto a light transparent net. The waist feature is defined by the use of asymmetric layers of silk organza billowing into a train towards the back and the dress is worn over a long grey silk bias-cut slip."

All enquiries Naill Tyrrell at 26 Fortescue Lane, off Lower Mount Pleasant Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6,


"I invited Emily to shoot on Carrickfinn beach, Kincasslagh, in the most north-western tip of County Donegal, an area steeped in knitwear history. This is where my mother's family goes back generations. My own grandmother and her sisters knitted Aran sweaters for local companies their whole lives.

"Carrickfin beach is where I spent every summer of my childhood playing on the dunes. It is so extraordinarily beautiful and luckily, due to the strong Atlantic wind, it remains totally untouched and peacefully silent.

"There is a deep connection between the work shown and Carrickfinn beach; the colourway of my AW15 collection was based on the changing hues of the expansive Donegal sky. The colours were deliberately chosen in combinations to evoke the changing of the light from morning to night. The knits are light, semi-sheer yellow-orange kid mohair, and the hand-crochet and hand-tufted collar depicts evening light splashing onto the rocks.

"My work is based around the idea of taking the well-loved techniques of Irish knit and finding ways to augment and marry those styles with innovative new techniques and construction. It's a tradition that I am proud to continue on with a spirit of innovation."

Honor's work is available at Dipili Boutique, 6 Ormonde Quay, Dublin 1.


"This shoot took place right beside my home at Riverhaven log cabins on the shores of Lough Key in Knockvicar, County Roscommon. This was a place where I spent a lot of my childhood days, picking wild flowers and enjoying solitude in nature.

"There were two swans on the lake which my family named Romeo and Juliet and I loved to sit in a row boat by the shore with the motion of the water rocking me calmly. It is such a peaceful place and I was so lucky to grow up surrounded by such beauty.

"The model photographed by Emily is wearing our AW15 strapped bodice and strapped skirt which I designed at my studio in London. They are made from an Italian vegetable tanned cowhide in white and there's a navy neoprene fabric for comfort and stretch. The panels are joined with gold-coated solid brass fittings which are also sourced from Italy.

"These pieces give the wearer an aura of power, strength and pride, an almost warrior-like presence reminiscent of mythological Irish heroines such as Medb, Queen of Connaught."

These pieces are available in sizes 6-12. This entire outfit is available from Luisa Via Roma in Florence,, or can be made to order by contacting the website,


"When the cherry blossoms are in bloom in May in Dublin's Herbert Park, it has to be just one of the prettiest parks in the city.

"I chose it as an obvious spot to shoot the cherry blossom dress on one of my favourite models, Carrie Ann Burton. It's a place I often visit with my two dogs, Harry and Joe. I find having a walk early in the morning with them helps to set the order of the day and many new designs are constructed in my head while I'm out walking with them.

"I use a lot of botanical references in my work and can often be found sketching and photographing blooms in the various parks and gardens near where I live in Dublin.

"This dress is part of my couture wedding collection and I loved how Carrie Ann appears to be at one in the setting, with life imitating art. Of course, the dress is inspired by the delicate structure of cherry blossoms in bloom, their fragile colour and feminine shapes being recreated in hand-dyed layers of tulle and shredded organza blossoms and leaf embroidery with hidden corsetry to create a gentle empire line shape."

The dress is available from Helen's studio which is open by appointment Monday-Saturday.


"The place that Emily shot the picture is in rural County Monaghan in a place called Truagh. It's a beautiful old house that's falling down. During the day, the sun hits it in such a beautiful way. And at night, it's spooky.

"Truagh is down the road from where we live and we pass it quite a lot. It is on the way to my son Ronnie's friend's house and I also drive past it when I'm going to teach art to the Errigal Truagh special needs group.

This house has a special meaning for me as I pass by it all year round and, as the seasons change, it still holds its beauty.

"The sunlight peeps through the trees that surround the house leaving a beautiful light pattern that dapples over the grounds. This became an inspiration for the darker prints in my SS15 collection.

"As I began to think of the women who may have lived in this house in the early 1900-1920s, I created a drop-waisted sheer cotton silk, Holly Hobbie-style dress that would suit the era that I was thinking of, with a trippy time traveller, astrological print.

"We were so lucky with the weather the day of the shoot but then, the sun always shines when Emily shoots your work and her enthusiasm is contagious! We had a great team with make-up by Leonard Daly, who I've worked with on all of my look books. Leonard always researches the theme and knocks it out of the park. The model was a Monaghan student, Shirley John, and shoot assistant was Halle Steele."

Helen is available to buy at Costume, Castle Market, Dublin 2.

Irish Independent

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