Wednesday 12 December 2018

Take two... Laura Chambers cashmere


Ribbed, oversize, funnel-neck cashmere sweater, €495, Laura Chambers.Sequin skirt, €119, Traffic People, Divine boutique. Snakeskin boots, €49.99, Mango. Earrings, €12.99, H&M
Ribbed, oversize, funnel-neck cashmere sweater, €495, Laura Chambers.Sequin skirt, €119, Traffic People, Divine boutique. Snakeskin boots, €49.99, Mango. Earrings, €12.99, H&M
Turtle-neck cashmere sweater with extra-long sleeves and contrast-cuff detail, €435; striped cashmere skirt with ruffle-hem detail, €420, both Laura Chambers. Sock boots, €59.95, Zara. Earrings, €12.99, H&M

I expect the specialist-knowledge fashion mavens among you to remember well the cool, fashion-forward Dublin noughties boutique, Tulle, in the George's Street Arcade. Open from 2001 to 2009, Tulle, founded by Laura Chambers, was the first to introduce us to J Brand, Matthew Williamson, Sass & Bide, and to reintroduce iconic Lacroix.

"I loved retail. But overnight, women stopped buying expensive dresses, while rents just kept going up," Laura recalls. "I had one child at the time, and she was quite sick - in fact, very sick. I was struggling. So I thought, 'It's a good time to stop'."

Laura is a fashion-design graduate of NCAD. Following college and before Tulle, she worked in the retail and fashion-design industries, both here and in Australia. She spent the recession working with her husband and raising her family. But the fashion bug never left her. Not for one moment.

"I was at home a lot, wondering when would I get back to it," Laura tells me. "We were moving house, and in clearing out the attic, I found my old Brother domestic knitting machine from when I was in college. I wasn't into knitwear so much when I was in NCAD. I preferred pattern cutting and I adored colour.

"But I started to buy some cones of yarn. Once I saw the colour cards, I was gone!"

Laura started experimenting and knitting gifts for people. Soon, they were asking her to make things for their friends and family.

Laura Chambers cashmere officially launched in autumn/winter 2016. "I hadn't a plan to create a brand or anything specific," she explains, "but I was passionate about creating a business that was made in Dublin."

Boldly coloured, Laura Chambers cashmere flirts gently with both street and retro vibes. At its core, it is about feminine, solid, pieces. Laura decided to sell exclusively from her own website, a strategy she has stuck with. "I decided to create what I would wear myself; longer sleeves, longer bodied, versatile, a bit glamourous," she says.

As one who has lost a lot of energy to worrying about vital Christmas gifts going astray in postal backlogs, it is worth knowing that the Laura Chambers website offers free next-day delivery via An Post's Business Express service, which is also registered. All orders come gift-packaged in a sustainable brown gift box, with a pretty peach ribbon, and labelled.

"We get asked a lot for special orders such as bigger sizes, or different colours, which we can do because we make them here," Laura says. Perfect!

Photography by Steve Gallagher

Styling by Sarah Rickard-Lantry

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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