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Focus on Irish Fashion: Natalie Coleman


A firm favorite of Lilly Allen, designer Natalie Coleman first dipped her toe in the fashion world at The Limerick School of Art before completing an MA at London's Central St. Martins. After stints with threeASFOUR in New York and Joanne Hynes in Ireland, Natalie finally set up her Natalie Coleman label.

This week we caught up with the Irish designer to talk silk scarves, Dolly Parton and the ever inspirational fashion wheel.

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

I guess I was always a little obsessed with fashion. I used to have fashion wheel and a tiny little pink plastic sewing machine as a kid. I also used to sneak out my party dresses and change into them in the cloakrooms at school. I always got caught because I would want to keep them on as long as possible.

What was the first thing you designed ?

Knitted purses. I still remember the first one. A baby blue envelope purse with navy trim. My Sindy also had some crazy glitter outfits for her dates with Ken. By the time I was a teenager I was cutting up my Mams old bridesmaids dresses and reconstructing them.

What is inspiring you at the moment ?

Jewellery. I absolutely love Meryl O' Grady, also Tim Walker sets, Harold and Maude, early Versace 1990's and the film Pretty in Pink.

How would you describe your AW11 collection ?

'All the Jewellery I Never Got' is my 2011/12 collection. It's a collection of print, layering and whimsical storytelling. The illustrations are hand drawn, water coloured and digitally printed on silks which makes the fabrics 100% unique and original to my label. The story that is being told through this collection is inspired by women and their desire for romance and magic. Though it is modern and sexy, it's a collection inspired by my lack of good love affairs !

What has been your biggest challenge to date ?

Financing my label and of course dividing myself into ten. I have had so much interest that it's difficult to keep up with demand. It is a really exciting time for the label.

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

Dolly Parton and Cat Power because I love them, and of course Saorise Ronan whose style I is very elegant and assured.

Which collection has impressed you this season ?

I love Helmut Lang, the cut is brilliant and I have fallen in love with Una Burkes fabulous leather cuffs and belts.

Name one item every person should have in their closet ?

One of my oversized silk scarves. They are perfect for wrapping around on the beach and equally gorgeous worn traditionally.

What was your most tragic fashion moment ?

Earlier this year I had been up for two nights sewing for an upcoming show. Somehow I managed to cut out several metres of specially made silks with the print upside down. That was a low point.

Where do you like to shop ?

I love rummaging at markets and second hand shops. I also love a good auction. Bow Boutique in Powerscourt Townhouse is great for stocking really special labels and I love to browse through Brown Thomas, especially the third floor where the Irish designers are based.

Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon ?

I love nothing better than breakfast in bed and the papers, visiting the Sunday markets and a big roast with some friends.

Share one insider secret ?

Dipping your nails in olive oil for a few minutes every week is great for them.