Our fashion editor rounds up the latest style news and fashion trends
I was interested to hear Dancing with the Stars judge Loraine Barry say she moved away from using sequins when she heard about how long it takes for them to decompose.
Barry is on a mission of sustainability and positive deconstruction. Her secret weapon is her former dance student, Francesca Lazzari from Rome, who Barry taught for 10 years. She has been collaborating with Lazzari, a dressmaker/designer, since last year.
Many of Barry’s 12 outfits from the 2022 Dancing with the Stars season, and some earlier ones, have been cut up and picked apart to create totally new looks for this year’s TV show.
Barry’s first outfit of the new season was an interesting hybrid: a silver beaded top from a 2018 dress and the bottom of a one-shouldered lilac 2022 dress were married together, and there were ostrich feathers added for 2023. One of her trouser suits has become a top and skirt. A red maxi was transformed into a three-quarter-length dress. But, for me, the pièce de résistance came on week three when Barry wore a silver dress with a soft drift of ivory feathers across the neckline, sleeve and cuffs. It turns out that the column dress had been remodelled from a silver jumpsuit.
Last Sunday was exciting for the collaborators because, just as Barry was coming off air with the RTÉ show, Lazzari was showing her latest designs at New York Fashion Week. To get a slot on the NYFW calender, Lazzari presented a portfolio which included several of the dresses she had collaborated on with Barry in 2022.
Because she has conserved her old dresses, Barry has rich pickings to work with now. “I have the biggest collection of feathers. If I finish with a dress, I take all the buttons off and use them again. I keep everything; I don’t throw anything away. When I was educated about how it takes too long for sequins to decompose, I said to Francesca, ‘I don’t want to use them, I want to use things I already have and not get something new.’”
For anyone looking for fabric, trims and buttons to revamp pieces in your wardrobe, I like the selection, and friendly service, at Cloth in Dublin’s Westbury Mall.
Researching possible Oscar looks, I came across Carol Kennelly’s beaded skull cap, handmade in her studio in Tralee. Little did I know as I poured over the beautiful pieces on her website that the vintage-inspired, jewel-encrusted piece already had an Oscar connection. It was worn by award-winning actress Nicole Kidman with a Valentino haute-couture gown in a shoot for London’s Tatler. Lots of inspiring ideas for unusual head pieces for occasions and weddings are available on carolkennellymillinery.com.
I find Louise Kennedy’s spring-summer collections spark joy each year, and her new colour palette is as thrilling as ever. Pinks and oranges clash deliciously, and there’s a fluid, ultra-feminine romance in the silk ‘Sakura’ tunic (price on application) worn above with the high-waisted, trumpet-flared ‘Liana’ midi skirt (€1,495).
Inspired by Irving Penn’s collection of spectacular floral portraits published in Flowers in 1980, this season, Kennedy explores flora in literal and abstract form through illustrations, embellishments, printed silks and woven jacquards.
She finds floral inspiration on her own doorstep, with printed silks featuring flowers from Merrion Square expressed in the ‘Kamila’ long-sleeved floral midi dress in fluid silk Georgette with ruffle detailing (€1,695) and the ‘Lillian’ blouse (€895).
Famous for her occasionwear, Kennedy’s ‘Aura’ caped dress in double-faced crepe wool and lined in silk was a big hit last year. Responding to the popularity of this silhouette, Kennedy has reprised it in lace. Her ‘Lara’ dress (€1,695) features delicate Parisian lace and is again lined in pure silk. The cut is lean, with a petite cape with a scalloped edge. The colour options are sapphire blue, pale pink, and it also comes in white.
Another piece to check out is the ‘Azra’ coat (€1,495) in a playful combo of orange and pink in abstract floral woven jacquard.
While Kennedy gets so much coverage for her occasionwear and luxury hand-beaded garments, she also does a fine workwear edit. And don’t be surprised when visiting her Dublin flagship at 56 Merrion Square if you fall for her interiors pieces and her jewellery. The latter reflects her love of art-deco pieces, and for self-gifting, I cannot imagine anything nicer than the ‘Madelena’ earrings with Swarovski crystal elements set in a classic pear-shaped design, or the ‘Palma’ drop earrings with freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals set in a gold plate, both priced at €395 each.
The jewellery is available from Kennedy’s Dublin and London flagships, and you will also find her clothes and accessories at Brown Thomas Grafton Street and at Kildare Village. louisekennedy.com