There was a kind of feeding frenzy when the news broke recently that modernist Irish label Lennon Courtney, at just five seasons old, was to be exclusively available in Dunnes Stores.
However, despite the story leaking, no one had seen the collection. Until today. Here, LIFE readers are getting an exclusive sneak peek of the new Lennon Courtney at Dunnes Stores collection.
"We are hugely excited to be in Dunnes Stores," Sonya Lennon tells me when I meet with her and Brendan Courtney at Dunnes Stores's head office. "We are now part of an impressive stable of designers - joining Carolyn Donnelly, Paul Costelloe, Leigh Tucker and Helen James.
"We couldn't produce the clothes at the price point that Dunnes Stores could." Sonya explains that in cutting out the middleman, as in the wholesaler, the clothes cost less. "It means that Lennon Courtney is available to more women at a more affordable price."
No one foresaw this twist in the successful brand's fate.
Lennon Courtney had shown at London Fashion Week. They had been featured in Vogue. Their export business continues to grow season on season. To everyone in the industry, they were making it. So why cease being an independent and become a label within a well established brand such as Dunnes Stores?
"Things were going great. Our sales were up by 26pc," Sonya confirms. "But with expansion, comes a whole new set of challenges. From the very beginning of Lennon Courtney, we were very mindful of making it as affordable as possible. Keeping things simple and so on. But there is only so far you can take it. We were looking at the model to see how we could build the brand, when there was a chance meeting with Carolyn [Donnelly]."
As well as being designer of The Edit and Eclectic for Dunnes Stores, Carolyn is the creative director of the company.
"We got talking to Carolyn, and one thing led to another," Brendan elaborates. "As it happens, the timing was right."
The Lennon Courtney at Dunnes Stores collection is highly exclusive; from now on, Lennon Courtney is only at Dunnes Stores. There will be a small, limited number of pieces made and once the collection is gone, it's gone. It is available from Tuesday from just 18 stores nationwide and online.
The collection consists mainly of dresses, one skirt, one top and two wide-leg, totally on-trend trouser styles. Slightly edgy shapes are their trademark. I was a little disappointed there weren't more separates, as I love Lennon Courtney's take on them. However, Brendan tells me to cool my heels. "There could be a pre-spring/cruise collection in December, which will be even more fabulous."
Bated breath here.
Photography by Kevin Fox
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
Sunday Indo Life Magazine