Saturday 24 March 2018

Focus on Irish Fashion: Sophie Rieu of Unicorn Design

SS11 Sophie Rieu
SS11 Sophie Rieu

Sinead Van Kampen

Sophie Rieu founded Unicorn design in 2003 to provide unique garments using only the finest natural fabrics. She brings the most traditional of Irish craft techniques to modern, eclectic and classic designs. We caught up with Sophie to discuss high heels, veggie gardens and the importance of always having a needle and thread handy!

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

I took an evening course at Grafton Academy about 12 years ago. Although I always used to knit and have dreamed up outfits since I was a kid, I suppose I just didn't think of it as a "job" until that point.

What was the first thing you designed?

A skirt. It was straight with a yoke at the front and back in the most beautiful ochre linen with printed silk godet inserts. I still have it and occasionally wear it !

What is inspiring you at the moment?

Colour, texture, nature, dreams, people...

How would you describe your Spring 2011 collection?

Fresh, sensual, playful, colourful, passionate it's very wearable and it can be worn again next summer and some styles could be worn all year in fact.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Wearing high heels, I still find it extremely difficult!

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

I love strong women with lots of character and spirit, so Cate Blanchett comes to mind.

Whose collection have you really been impressed by this season?

I loved the couture collection by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, very rich in details but not fussy and all ivory - extremely elegant.

What’s one item every person should have in their closet?

A needle and thread... just in case.

What was your most tragic fashion moment?

Wearing a cardigan with embroidery when I was a teenager to please my Mum even though it didn't suit me...

Where do you like to shop?

I love boutiques with lots of quirky interesting things in them that nobody else has. I love Maven in Dublin and Place in Gorey is a recent find...

Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

I have a vegetable garden in front of my shop in Greystones, we have built raised beds where the flower beds were and now we grow veggies. Things are very busy at the moment ... weeding, watering and harvesting - I love it.

Share one insider secret?

I'm not sure that's an "insider" secret but I find that less is more. Natural make up, not too much jewellery and never wear a necklace and earrings at the same time. Choose one or the other.

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