Style Fashion

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Grand designs

Textile designer Aoife Mullane has extended her skills to fashion, creating stunning hand-crafted metallic pieces for next month's ARC show, an event close to our hearts at Weekend magazine

'Blue Birds in Flight' satin kimono edged in black silk and featuring gold and copper flocks of birds, €800; Helena Malone pendant in 18ct gold, diamonds and natural Tahitian Pearl, €1,750
'Blue Birds in Flight' satin kimono edged in black silk and featuring gold and copper flocks of birds, €800; Helena Malone pendant in 18ct gold, diamonds and natural Tahitian Pearl, €1,750
Aoife Mullane
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Show producer Eddie Shanahan admits he had a few "sleepless nights" after the spectacular finale in last year's ARC show, the biggest fashion show of its kind in the country.

This year, 28 Irish fashion designers will show their latest work in the RDS on Thursday, March 8 and it falls to textile designer, Aoife Mullane from Bray, to close the show.

"Two weeks after the 2017 show, I suddenly got this inspiration that Aoife, who I had worked with on a few projects including CREATE at Brown Thomas, might provide that something extra special and I'm delighted that she has designed 12 pieces which I think will come alive on the catwalk when the light hits the metallics," says Eddie.

Weekend magazine is delighted to be media partners of the event, from which all funds raised will go to ARC Cancer Support Centres who offer free counselling and support to those affected by cancer at their centres in Eccles Street, Dublin 7, and South Circular Road, Dublin 8.

Today we have an exclusive preview of some of Aoife's work in the show, and the fabrics are fascinating. Hours of drawing go into creating the designs, many inspired by the coast and nature near her home. Aoife combines traditional textile techniques of hand painting, with more unusual and high-end effects such as foiling. Screen-printing and hand dyeing is also an intrinsic part of her work. No two pieces are ever alike. Prices start from €650 for the cape and commissions vary in price depending on the level of detail and fabrics used.

Aoife first came to media attention when, in her first commission out of college, she did stunning interiors for the new Oslo Beauty salons. Her 'wearable art' includes a silk cape which has a very modern feel, shorter at the front, so it works well with jeans. There are more elaborate pieces like the powder pink crepe cape dress with hand applied gold and copper dragonflies printed on outer and inner cape (right). A black wool wrap edged with silk, which Aoife wears (below), can be used as a rug and with two buttons to secure it once draped over the arms.

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Aoife Mullane

Eddie believes the pieces are special "because this is craftsmanship. The fact that they are hand-painted using an age-old technology, I think this adds value and puts them in the same milieu as Hermès and Gucci and the people who really value craftsmanship."

The ARC show has a wide line-up and will feature a collaboration between fashion designer Derek Lawlor and milliner Margaret O'Connor. There will be special collections from all the top names on the Irish fashion scene, such as Helen Cody, Lucy Nagle, Niamh O'Neill, Delphine Grandjouan, Sara O'Neill, Heidi Higgins, KDK, Suzanne Monaghan, Jill de Burca and Theo+George. Caterina Coyne, a former principal dancer in Riverdance, will showcase a collection which uses Carrickmacross lace to great effect.

The show includes innovative collections from Dolly Delinquent, David O'Malley, Amie Egan and Sarah Murphy, plus beach and cruisewear from Mona Swims.

A millinery feature with the theme 'That Was Then, Then Is Now' allows six milliners to select a period in history as an inspiration for an exclusive design.

An integral part of the show involves a number of women who have experienced breast cancer, known as 'ARC Angels', who take to the runway and showcase a special sequence of beautiful designer outfits. Brown Thomas is providing new season footwear to complement the collections, and goodie bags will be provided by No7.

Photography: Frank McGrath  Garments and fabrics: Aoife Mullane, amullanedesign.com 

Jewellery: Helena Malone, helenamalone.ie Hair: Suzy Dowling for Peter Mark Make-up: Judy Wong for No 7 Model: Phoebe Tan at Morgan The Agency

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