Our fashion editor rounds up the latest style news and fashion trends
Caterina Coyne is the toast of West Hollywood and, this time, it’s not because of her acclaimed dancing skills. A principal dancer in the touring Riverdance show for 10 years, Coyne enrolled with the Grafton Academy for three years and realised her dreams of becoming a fashion designer.
This month, she began a new chapter in her career and opened her own boutique on Sunset Plaza, specialising in pieces for the “most treasured and special occasions in your life”.
What’s particularly noteworthy about this venture is that, in addition to Coyne’s own collection of day-to-evening and red-carpet pieces, such as her pink tulle gown , the store is also home to a cache of other exciting Irish design talents. Stepping out of her dancing shoes and into a role of fashion fairy godmother, she sees her retail endeavour as an opportunity for other Irish designers whose work she admires.
It’s just six years since Coyne launched her fashion label, and she has a growing customer base to her website (caterinacoyne.com), where she offers bespoke commissions for gowns from €1,250, while her pink, one-shouldered tulle gown costs €1,650. Her ethos is to create “beautiful clothes for a life well lived in them”. At the last Council of Irish Fashion Designers (CIFD) show, one of her stand-out looks was a tulle top with train (€189) worn with pleated cream pants (€155), so you can see, the entry prices for an outfit are not eye-watering.
Coyne says her most popular piece on the website is definitely the ‘Nadia’ tulle top in blush, ivory or nude, which costs from €125, and she sells out of them regularly, with 90pc going to brides who request them for bridal showers or day two of their weddings.
Almost all of the Irish brands stocked in the LA store are, like Coyne herself, members of the CIFD, which aims to introduce its members to new markets.
She stocks striking Irish labels like Mona Swims by Carla Johnson,
Éadach by Sara O’Neill, Charlotte Lucas, hats by Aoife Harrison, Landa bags, and crochet wire headpieces by Leonora Ferguson.
Coyne spent childhood years in Connemara after her parents moved the family back from London. She joined Riverdance at 18, and she still has connections to the show as her husband, Mark Alfred, from Co Monaghan, is its musical director, and the couple split their year between living in Ireland and abroad.
Working so much in the States with the Riverdance show, Coyne got her green card, which enabled her to open the store.
“I always thought I’d love to do a store bringing Irish fashion to Los Angeles, along with my own collection, and I do feel that the pieces I have in the store are so different from what is available here,” says the designer.
“There definitely is that kind of ‘I want something that no one else can get their hands on’, so I really think that’s going to be a strong point for the store,” says Coyne, who was responsible for two stand-out looks at the VIP Style Awards. They were the ombre tiered blush and pink tulle backless gown worn by Louise Cooney and the hot pink silk chiffon dress with train worn by Aoibhín Garrihy.
I want to wish the best of luck to Coyne and her Irish ‘family’ of brands in this venture. You can check out the store on Instagram on @Coyne_on_sunset.
Making and Momentum: A Conversation with Eileen Gray, which explored her lasting influence on Irish design, has reached yet another landmark.
Fashion designer Richard Malone curated the exhibition of leading visual art makers which travelled to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Dublin and Wexford over a year. As part of the exhibition, Malone has sponsored a prize fund of €10,000 to support the next generation of makers.
The eight artists to receive €1,250 each include Andrew Bell from Co Louth, who will use his prize to develop a series of ‘wearable objects of desire’ which function as bags and small leather goods, featuring hand-cut zigzag edging, hand-painted and sanded in a process that echoes the ancient art of lacquer-work.
Olivia O’Dwyer proposed a series of paintings on female artists that have been forgotten in art history. Almha McCartan will explore handcrafted processes including patchwork appliqué and quilting.
Jan McCullough plans a series of works and interventions exploring the human predilection for mending, fixing and improving one’s environment. Orla Kelly is creating a body of work honouring the ceremony of breakfast.
Ciaran Bowen intends to develop new techniques with dried-out acrylic paint skins. Darren Francis Cassidy’s sculptural work in ceramics studies the surfaces on the Beara peninsula, and visual artist Vera Ryklova received an award to develop her work in lens-based media.