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Focus on Irish Fashion: Eilis Boyle


Photo courtesy of Eilis Boyle

Photo courtesy of Eilis Boyle

Photo courtesy of Eilis Boyle

Eilis Boyle studied design at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Madrid and has built her Irish label out of an innate feel for wearable luxury. Known for soft feminine silhouettes, her appreciation of costume and her ability to add both drama and simplicity to her creations, we caught up with Eilis to ask her about her latest collection and delve into her murky 80s past.

Here's what she told Independent Woman:

When did you realise that you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I was interested in fashion and creative expression from a young age, though it wasn't until I was in my early twenties that I realised you could have a career.

What was the first thing you designed?

I used to be obsessed with the 50s in my teens and I used to design and make full skirted dresses with polka dots. The first fashion school I went to was connected with a music label and we would design garments as a team for musicians playing in Madrid. My most memorable creations would have to be a jacket for Michael Hutchence and a mini-dress for Tina Turner.

What's inspiring you now?

I'm very inspired by photography. I'm also inspired by people. Meeting with Peter O'Brien, Aisling Farinella or Sonya Lennon, discussing new projects and film...this is always inspiring.

How would you describe your Spring 2011 collection?

Soft, feminine, timeless.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Staying above water financially. Everyone in the business knows how hard it is to make a living. No matter how many shops you sell to, or how many actors wear your clothes, running a business, and day to day financing are really difficult.

If you could choose a celebrity endorsement, who would it be and why?

I love when other designers wear my pieces. Endorsement? Maybe if Rick Owens wore my scarves...I'd like that.

Whose collection have you really been impressed by this season?

Sharon Wauchob. I love every season. She is just a fantastic designer.

What's the one item everyone should have in their closet?

A soft cashmere cardigan or wrap... or cashmere scarves! There is nothing like wrapping yourself in cashmere if you're feeling down.

What was your most tragic fashion moment?

I lived through the 80s so there were many, many tragic moments. Now I look back I realise it was a fantastic time for self expression.

Where do you like to shop?

Paris. In Dublin, Indigo & Cloth, Dolls or Havana ... lottery win permitting!

Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

Probably lying on the sofa with a book or surfing the internet.

Share one insider secret?

Be yourself and throw out that fake tan. Also, strapless dresses suit very few people.

Who do you most admire, and why?

Wow...so many people. Anyone who is trying to make a living in fashion deserves to be admired. It takes huge commitment and sacrifice to stay in business.

How would you like your clothes to be remembered?

Luxurious, timeless and exquisitely crafted.