Though a private person and not a bit into celebrity or fame, designer Claire Garvey has the cool factor. She even has the world icon of cool, Nile Rodgers (he of Chic and awesome-music fame) as a client.
"I know people think I am a costumer," Claire tells me when we meet in her store in Dublin's Cow's Lane. "But I do love doing pieces for people. The work I am doing for Nile Rodgers and his backing singers started with the X Factor asking me for some pieces.
"It is the first time I have ever done menswear and, oh, I am loving it. He is such a lovely man, and the two backing singers - they are all lovely. It has been an incredible experience."
For me, Claire Garvey has always been a shining light in the following-her-heart stakes. She never allows fear to stop her.
The result of Claire's creative courage throughout her career is resounding success. Artists from all over the world - such as the team who did our shoot - want creative collaborations with her. On her store's rails are stunningly beautiful, sexy costumes for the singers, dancers and musicians of a new show. Nile Rodgers, one of the most respected people in the music industry, fondly calls her 'the umbrella lady' because of all the umbrellas she uses in her designs.
"No matter what I do, the work I do is theatrical. So I think, 'I may as well make it as big and dramatic as I like'," she says.
"I love going from one thing to the next, otherwise I'd get bored. Whatever I have done last, I tend to do the exact opposite. So, where everything was very short before, now it is long. I like the idea of being pretty and embellished - and strong at the same time. I have done so many tutus and fairy dresses. I am now getting into sculptural shapes."
Claire's look has metamorphosed. There are few of the psychedelic, mini-skirt, pixie garbs I so loved two years ago (although leather hot pants are still there). Now the shop is filled with a near-Victorian silhouette - all steel-bone corsets and long skirts, made up in Claire's trademark OTT embellishment (think beads, found artefacts, toys, spray paint, varnish, sheer chiffon, lace, feathers). Somehow, the total effect is very seductive and sexy. It will make for gorgeous bridal wear, too, something Claire is also well known for.
"I know some of the pieces are quite kitschy, but it works together, strangely. It has that precious look that I always want in my work," she says.
In among all her creativity, Claire is committed to racial integration and causes such as End Female Genital Mutilation. She has won an award for her support, as well as several fashion awards, over the years.
"You know, I have been in business for something like 14 years and it really does keep getting better," she says. "I feel so blessed, so fortunate, to do what I do - work that I love. I am really very happy."
All clothes by Claire Garvey, exclusively available from her store, 6 Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar, D2, tel: (01) 671-7287, or see clairegarvey.com
Headpieces by Posh Fairytale Couture, Waldmohr, Germany, see etsy.com/PoshFairytaleCouture or see facebook.com/posh.fairytale.couture
Photography by Sonja Saur, see sonja-saur-photography.de
Make-up and headpieces by Rachel Sigmon, master cosmetologist and creator of Posh Fairytale Couture, see facebook.com/Rachelsigmoncosmetologist
Models: Antonia Nathalia Torbohm, Ellen Becker, Monika Tapiador, Sana Guillera
Shot on location in Waldmohr, Germany