Sunday 26 January 2020

Sophisticated Loves with Designer Caroline Kilkenny

Blouse, €108; trousers, €138; coat (on arm), €340, all Caroline Kilkenny. Necklace, €20, eShe, Newbridge Silverware
Blouse, €108; trousers, €138; coat (on arm), €340, all Caroline Kilkenny. Necklace, €20, eShe, Newbridge Silverware
Coat, €399; blouse, €108; trousers, €138, all Caroline Kilkenny. Shoes, €665; clutch, €1,145, both Christian Louboutin, Brown Thomas. Necklace, €20, eShe, Newbridge Silverware
Jacket, €168; blouse, €119; skirt, €97, all Caroline Kilkenny. Clutch, €1,145, Christian Louboutin, Brown Thomas
Dress, €199, Caroline Kilkenny. Tights, stylist’s own
Coat, €318; dress, €240, both Caroline Kilkenny
Dress, €248, Caroline Kilkenny. Cuff, €30, eShe, Newbridge Silverware
Dress, €240, Caroline Kilkenny
Coat, €318; dress, €240,both Caroline Kilkenny

'Fashion is very personal. For me, it is about looking your best, and that comes from being dressed in what suits you best," designer Caroline Kilkenny states.

The Caroline Kilkenny label is one I have long admired. Right from the first, Caroline told me that she was designing for adult women and wasn't competing in the youth market, or with labels that sold youth to older women.

"Caroline Kilkenny is a thirty-plus label. My customers are working women, career women, who like to look good, but they don't live for their appearance. When I start creating a collection, I think about what I like to wear and how I like to look and that hovers over all that I make," she says.

Caroline Kilkenny for autumn 2014 is a one-stop shop for the woman who likes to dress to her strengths and her sex. The collection is one of the most competitively priced in the market 
for a designer range. This season, there is a decidedly chic, Parisian vibe to her collection, with its sensual simplicity and clean styling. Elegant coats, sensuous blouses, cigarette trousers, skirts with vents, striking dresses for 
day and evening, to playful pieces in prints, and varying hem lengths.

"This autumn, tailoring is having a big influence. That leads to an attractive sophistication," Caroline says. People can react adversely to the word sophistication, I say, to which Caroline responds, "I don't like to think of sophistication as being overly done, overtly glamorous. I think people get tired just thinking about it when it means that. For me, sophistication is dressing to suit, to feel comfortable and to look well.

"You can see that across all the pieces in my collection - from separates to coats to dresses. It is about looking well, but also like yourself. When I start designing autumn, I always reference previous collections, because I know there are things my customer always needs and likes, and also that it can be integrated more easily," she says.

Though Caroline has a reputation for dresses, I have always loved her separates and coats, especially her blouses, tops and skirts. This season, 
separates are king.

"I believe separates allow a person more control over how they look and feel in their clothes. Some people look better in separates. For dresses, I feel you need to be perfectly proportioned. But quite a few women are, say, size 12 on top and maybe two sizes bigger on the bottom, and that doesn't work in dresses."

As her collections are always rooted in flattering the body and your lifestyle, not just fashion's fads, I find Caroline Kilkenny's pieces don't date. And, as the fabrics are always excellent, they last. Caroline's love of colour, femininity and play, mean you will always reach for them to support you as you head out to meet your day - and conquer it.

All clothes featured are from the Caroline Kilkenny autumn/winter 2014 collection, which is available from Design Centre, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, 59 South William St, D2, or see Richard Alan at Pamela Scott, Grafton St, D2, or see Kilkenny stores nationwide, or see Anastasia, 114 Ranelagh, D6, or see; Neola, Malahide, Co Dublin, or see; and from good boutiques nationwide

Sunday Independent

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