Louise Kennedy takes a trip down memory lane to launch new collection
Designer Louise Kennedy took a trip down memory lane yesterday to launch her new season collection at Ballyfin Demesne, Co Laois.
Her top clients were treated to lunch and a catwalk show at the historic house which dates back to the 1820s.
The lavish building and estate holds many memories for Louise, who as a young girl went there to debate and attend dances.
"My sister Caroline and I attended the Brigidine Convent in Abbeyleix, and for a period Ballyfin was home to a boarding school for the Patrician Order," she said.
"The two schools were twinned, and we had many great debating nights and exiting school dances in these magnificent rooms.
"Coming back to the grand entrance hall, I had a powerful sense of history.
"When clients of mine from around the world heard that I was doing my SS19 shoot here, I was really surprised at how many of them had already come to Ireland to experience Ballyfin."
This season, Louise has introduced a new femininity in the form of the playful, oversized polka dot 'Liv' dress in a very fine tulle.
The dropped waist and dreamy, floaty shape is lined with pure silk, which gives the dress structure while still allowing it to "float and ripple as you move".
Other highlights include the 'Tess' in a striking deep pink with a flattering cocoon shape, and the 'Carrie' fit and flare style with pockets in a glamorous Parisian tweed.
"We love our fabrics and have worked on all our colours for months with lab testing and going back to our mills until we tweak the colours to what we hope our clients will enjoy," said Louise. "It's also about the clashing of colours. I think it's joyous.
"Colour can be really elevating, and we have all our classics too because I could never do a spring-summer collection without a beautiful navy and white story."
A new look for spring is a lean, flattering trouser suit with the softly tailored 'Eliza' blazer and 'Rachel' trousers.
The fluid 'Casey' shirtwaister dress falls to the knee and is tied with a suede leather tassel belt for a sophisticated look.
The 'Marina' kaftan was inspired by a Georgian fan window at Louise's Merrion Square home and salon and features a deep V-neck.
The kaftan is hand-embroidered with delicate pearls, and along the outer edge, the pattern of railings is expressed in delicate beading.
The luxurious piece is part of the Merrion Square collection, which has been created to mark the 21st anniversary of Louise's flagship Dublin store.
The gathered audience reacted very positively to the introduction of a vibrant orange lace bomber jacket in geometric lace.
The 'Kiko' shape is softly tailored and was accessorised with the flared 'Piper' trouser.