Colour in your life
The arrival of winter can present challenges for some. Our Fashion Editor reports
Over the bank holiday weekend, I took advantage of Dublin interview time with designer Louise Kennedy and parked the usual format of lattes indoors for a sunshine-filled walk in Sandymount and along Irishtown's Nature Park, which reveals striking views of curvaceous Dublin Bay.
Curves, shape and form are very much at the centre of Louise's world and I was thrilled by how much the Tipperary-born designer enthused about the views. Louise is constantly travelling the world. She is off shortly to India (SS19 collection), Milan (exciting new bag shapes) and Palm Springs (to meet her American clients). We walked and talked for over two-and-a-half hours about everything wardrobes for busy women, what morphs from day to night and the old chestnut of factoring colour into our lives.
I, for one, am totally guilty of gravitating to a black or navy colour bias in the winter months but Irish people "are not afraid of colour", Louise insists. She has been playful and astute this season, with strong shades of purple and red: two colours she loves and has used in luxury statement knits. She sees her purple 'Mara' (below right), in 100pc Italian lambswool with bell sleeves, as a weekend go-to with jeans, or flipped and partnered with her 'Marni' heavily beaded trousers. The red 'Aria' embellished knit (far right) might be the solution for women whose dressing habits start with tailored black trousers but who still want colour and tactile comforts in their life.
Meanwhile, the 'Kaia' slim coat (above right) may tempt those whose wardrobe choices operate on a psychological safety net of black. The purple, black and white blend was woven by Linton, the legendary tweed manufacturers, and includes a subtle Lurex thread, which means it translates easily from daytime to more occasionwear. This coat has a sister, the oversized 'Elodie' dress. The coat-and-dress combo hasn't gone away but it's just been given a more independent, modern story.
For a more casual look, the coat can take on a layered colour-blocking vibe with purple polo and Louise's new 'Piper' cropped trousers (above right). For years, the ubiquitous cropped trouser was more golf club uniform and morning-walks pal than fashion sleek but 'Piper' has been tweaked by Louise with a flattering flare. She designed it to take you from desk to dinner and it is part of her trouser edit of six shapes. Apart from the flare, I like that the wool fabric includes 4pc elastane. "There's nothing as sexy as an ankle and I love a high-heel slingback too," said Louise, as she commented on the photograph from her shoot. It was undoubtedly the quote of the afternoon, especially as we were both kitted out in sensible trainers and trousers. But then, as well we know, a woman's wardrobe requirements are always changing - just as surely as night follows day.
One to watch...
Clever Wexford woman Gemma O'Leary of Inner Island has redefined pearls with a gloriously modern twist. Her new Strata collection was inspired by the Irish coastline, and each hand-crafted piece features iridescent freshwater keshi pearls contrasted against gold and silver textured metal. Keshi pearls are irregular in form and are reminiscent of ancient relics plucked from the ocean floor. Gemma says, "Each piece is unique and extremely wearable - which is important to me as a designer, because who wants to keep beautiful pieces for special occasions?" Available in sterling silver, gold vermeil and solid 14kt gold, the pearl and silver earrings (above) are €155 and the pendant (below) in gold is also €155. Buy online at innerisland.ie, at Arnotts or boutiques countrywide.