Tuesday 11 December 2018

The queen maker


'Ophis' lurex and straw headpiece, €495
'Ophis' lurex and straw headpiece, €495
‘Hexa’ straw crown, €550
'Alatas' coated-straw face mask, €650
'Volans' coated-straw flat headpiece, €285
'Kytos' straw mask with crown, €750
'Sphaira' straw sun-cap, €650

As the women in Philippa Gregory's historically based books illustrate, the battle to attain and retain power is an endless pursuit. Dressing in a powerful manner, as well as being powerful, was always hugely important.

A key aspect to milliner Laura Kinsella's appeal is that her creations are regal and regal-making. Most of Laura's work is for weddings, a significant day for all, be it for bride, sister, or mother of the groom.

"I love making women queens," Laura says. "I don't know if I intended on doing it with this collection, but I always end up doing it. I previously did a collection in straw, using the word for 'queen' in different languages."

According to Laura, how the back of the head appears is as important as how the front looks. "Half the time, people are staring at the back of your head - at a wedding, at the races - so the back needs to be beautiful, too," she advises.

Laura is someone I view as an artist. This collection, titled 'Morphogenesis', was born of her exploring the concept of change, evolution. "I was looking into creating something that was that bit more sustainable. As we can see in fashion, everything is changing. The whole seasonal thing has gone out of control - constant change, the constant producing of collections. And when it is over, it is considered waste."

I have fallen in love with several of the pieces stylist Kieran Kilgallon had created for the shoot by Kyle Cheldon Barnett, an artist who creates paper sculptures.

"The shoot was all Kieran's idea," Laura explains. "He came up with the idea of creating paper garments; that way, we aren't fixed into the idea of one season. If you use actual clothes, it becomes dated really fast. This way it is more open, more sustainable.

"I find creativity has become a double-edged sword. People are drawn in and fascinated when your pieces are more creative, more out-there. But it can also repel them," she says. "This kind of work [on our pages today] has led to me being pigeonholed; people think that it is all I can do, and thus people don't ask me to make different things for them. But I make some really nice fedoras and turbans as well!"

Last year, Laura set up The Dublin School of Millinery (thedublinschoolofmillinery.com) and now has other milliners teaching courses. "I set it up to see how it would go - and it has gone really well," Laura tells me, clearly happy. "I love what I do. I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else. And that is the worst thing!"

Photography by Ellius Grace

Styling by Kieran Kilgallon

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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