Style notes: Keep an eye out for gorgeous Irish knits and weaves from IrelandsEye and Éadach, and don't miss these dapper Dublin pop-ups
Our fashion editor rounds up the latest style news and fashion trends
The spring solstice is always a magical time of the year and it has provided the inspiration for Maria-Christina McPadden’s latest work for the Irish knitwear company IrelandsEye. Maria-Christina is head of design at the family-owned business located in Baldoyle, close to the sea and to the North Dublin island from which it gets its name.
The company’s new ‘Solstice’ collection launched this week and when I visited their factory two weeks ago, Maria-Christina told me how the collection was inspired by the strong character of Irish women who embrace both the colour and darkness of life.
“I wanted to create bright, strong pieces with more masculine shapes while still having softness, warmth and optimism in generously proportioned knitwear stemming from our heritage.”
She reflected how, for centuries, the solstice has been a time “to celebrate the harvest and labour, a time for inner power and brightness, the quiet moment between light and shadow”.
Apart from meeting up again with Maria-Christina — who I first tipped for the top when she was an indie designer working on her own — I particularly wanted to investigate the handle of the garments, because this collection is made from a super-soft wool-and-cashmere yarn (95pc/5pc). For someone who has really sensitive skin, I’m delighted to report that it feels really good on and, best of all, the pieces feel warm, yet light.
Watching how Aran jumpers have come back into vogue internationally, I think it was the sheer dead weight of those old traditional knits in scratchy, oily yarns that dissuaded many of us from pulling on the Aran.
In Maria-Christina’s hands, the traditional stitches are reimagined into handy vest tops that can be worn over shirts, such as the ‘Farmleigh’ diamond vest (€139.95) in a great lilac/purple shade called ‘Orchid.’
There’s the ‘Ballybricken’ trellis cropped vest with round neck (€129.95), and the ‘Liberty’ diamond crewneck (€149.95) reminds me of a boyfriend jumper that you might have borrowed of old — but this has feminine proportions.
The ‘Wilde’ slouchy funnel-neck sweater (€149.95) with an interesting asymmetric collar, and dipping longer at the back, was my favourite.
All nine jumpers and cardi plus beret and ‘Melinda’ drawstring bag are available in shades of ‘Forget-Me-Not Blue’, ‘Orchid’, ‘Bramble Berry Red’, a zesty ‘Chartreuse’ green, ‘Rich Navy’ with a fleck, delicate ‘Ink’ and neutral ‘Chalkstone’.
Prices range from €129.95 to €159.95. irelandseyeknitwear.com
Brava to Sara O’Neill, whose Éadach silk scarf and pocket squares were worn by An Irish Goodbye’s Ross White and Seamus O’Hara on the big stage where the Oscar winners collected their awards.
The Co Antrim native introduced us to her ‘Millie’ silk pieces at Create last summer — a silk collection that honours the factory girls who were the backbone of the Irish linen industry in Belfast and around Northern Ireland.
After exhaustive research into the indigenous linen industry, it was entirely appropriate that Sara should start working with that fabric. Now she has introduced the ‘Róisín Dubh’ print on an Irish linen kimono (€895) and a silk and linen dress (€695).
All of the Éadach kimonos, capes and dresses are handmade to order. And Sara’s ‘Children of Lir’ print moonlight crepe de chine cape (€895) with matching silk trousers (€450) were spotted swirling around the Vanity Fair party worn by Seamus’s wife, Mary-Ellen O’Hara. eadach.com
Pop-ups to watch
Rachel Hennessy of Happy Days opened a pop-up at 10 South Anne Street in Dublin on Thursday, and it will be open seven days a week, until March 30.
Building on the success of her online business and permanent store in Leopardstown, she launched 40 new items at the pop-up, with 20 of the most popular dresses returning, ranging in size from 4-20.
Other brands in the pop-up are Aoife Mullane, Cotone Collection, Seabody skincare and Sarah Wickham.
Meanwhile at Ecru Studios, the husband-and-wife team of John Redmond and Karen Higgins have a pop-up at Dublin’s Westbury Mall until Monday.
Tempting pieces include the oversized ‘Alanis’ trenchcoat in sand organic cotton fabric from By Malene Birger. Ditto her orange ‘Cimone’ bell-sleeve wool/mohair sweater (€300) worn with her satin top in light sand (€250) and matching wide-leg pant (€380).
Useful pieces for summer that work with your existing wardrobe include the Stylein ‘Debora’ off-the-shoulder top in heavy jersey (€150) and the ‘Cojolita’ one-shouldered top in soft viscose jersey (€115). happy-days.ie; ecrustudios.com