Tullamore designer Sinéad O’Dwyer’s’s latest collection pays homage her late grandmother’s Hollywood-inspired wardrobe
Sinéad O’Dwyer’s campaigning style to promote body diversity, equality in fashion and disabled models in her shows has struck a chord with seasoned London Fashion Week observers.
The Offaly woman’s sophomore season with Newgen, a British Fashion Council initiative that supports the best emerging fashion design talent, pulled in the crowds at 10am yesterday and her front row was studded with dedicated fans, clearly identifiable wearing her hand-interlaced spiral tights and bodysuits.
O’Dwyer’s Autumn/Winter 2023 collection, entitled “dúil”, is an homage to her late grandmother, Rita O’Dwyer from Cashel, Co Tipperary, with a number of pieces drawing inspiration from her wardrobe.
An immaculately cut navy drill trenchcoat with square shoulders and a vented back nods to a similar garment O’Dwyer’s grandmother would wear, channelling the refined elegance of the early Hollywood starlets she was dazzled by as a young woman in the 1940s and 1950s.
Rita was both an avid maker and wearer of Aran knits and they were reinterpreted in the collection which also features floor-sweeping evening gowns in silk and a “bump-out” bodysuit for pregnant mothers in her signature weave. New leathers included a purple-busted breastplate while her oversized biker jacket was crafted in UK-reared and tanned deerskin.
Michael Stewart’s Standing Ground label delivered its second season at Fashion East with a collection of 13 gowns. He opened with a pink strapless dress in fluid jersey, then showcased a lotus pink velvet gown and closed his show with a red satin gown with an asymmetric neckline that echoes the capstone of an ancient Irish dolmen.
Stewart’s show was supported by Kildare Village and last night it hosted an after-show dinner in London for the Co Clare man, whose phone was hopping as his dresses are perceived to be perfect for the red carpet.
Veteran designer Paul Costelloe opened London Fashion Week with a very strong show, featuring 54 disparate looks including highly structured, fitted jackets with fabric from Magees in Donegal and Emblem Weavers in Wexford.
His evening wear was striking with a sexy, red-velvet fishtail gown. Costelloe wrapped up his show on a high with a voluminous, off-the-shoulder gown made in a narrative print with a silver motif fabric from Derry’s William Clarke, which was dedicated to James Joyce’s Ulysses and Costelloe’s hometown of Dublin.