In 2017, writer Robert Macfarlane tweeted his word of the day, "landskein" - the weaving and braiding of horizon lines, often seen most clearly on hazy days in hill country. Irish designer Anna Guerin sat up and took notice.
"The idea of interweaving the heritage of Irish textiles within a modern aesthetic was exactly what I wanted to do with contemporary clothing and the word landskein captured my brand in a nutshell," says Guerin, who started her brand The Landskein last September.
Guerin has a masters in business research, and did a study into the value of authenticity and sustainability in the case of Donegal tweed. Her luxury tailored coats and jackets, including the 'Eavan' longline jacket, are hand cut and sewn from tweed woven exclusively for her by fifth-generation weavers in Co Donegal.
"Spending time with the weavers in Donegal, interviewing them, discovering their processes and methods, further deepened my love and interest for the heritage of Donegal tweed," says Guerin, who hails originally from Listowel in Co Kerry. She has developed quite a following for her fashion narrative in Irish tweed and linen, which has craftsmanship and sustainability at its core.
"My aim is to create a contemporary unstructured coat that moves effortlessly with the body," Guerin explains. "A well-tailored coat is not constructed like any other garment - it must be built in carefully considered layers and the wrong component can have a dramatic effect on the feel of the garment."
Guerin's new 'Journey' collection includes a tailored-fit 'Grace' blazer in auburn herringbone tweed and the 'Aislinn' oversized blazer in bright contrast check 100pc lambswool tweed - both cost €645. Her collection is stocked at Havana in Dublin's Donnybrook and 'Horizon', a limited-edition deconstructed trench coat in 100pc Irish linen twill (€1,295), is at CREATE in Brown Thomas this year. thelandskein.com
Here's a nice one for those of you who love candles and the creative genius of Swedish designer Ben Gorham. He is the man behind Byredo with its fab fragrances like Gypsy Water and has also branced into handbags, jewellery, trainers, tailoring and cosmetics.
In his newest venture, launching here on November 1, the Stockholm-born designer has teamed up with Swedish superstore IKEA. He has created the Osynlig range which has 13 candles costing between €6-€27.50. Ikea.com
CRISP WHITE SHIRT
If there was one style takeaway from the nights I sat close to the TV screen, ogling Moira Rose's over-the-top style in Netflix sensation Schitt's Creek, it was that I definitely needed a new white shirt in my life. Heavily influenced by style icon Daphne Guinness, Moira's quirky style has opened some people's eyes to the wonder of a white shirt after years of relegating them to the realms of corporate wear.
In the show, Moira, who was brilliantly played by actress Catherine O'Hara, wore copious amounts of jewellery with her shirts. But then there were times her outfit revolved around the blank canvas of an architectural mannish shirt made interesting with slanting lines and unusual panels.
I'm happy to reveal I've found a white shirt treasure close to home. The 'AndTate' range of sustainable cotton shirts is the work of Irish designer Sharon Hoey. Isn't she a bridal designer?
Yes, she is, and Tate is Sharon's married name. Hoey started to investigate white shirts to wear with her big ballskirts and made an interesting discovery.
"I found that the cotton in men's shirts is different to the cotton used in women's garments - it is usually a much higher quality - so I decided to take the defining elements of the man's shirt, like the collars that wash and wash.
"I was trying to take all the things I know from all the years of fitting women, particularly the bust and hip side of it," says Hoey, whose shirts are made in Portugal in a factory used by many top fashion names, including Celine.
I like the higher slits at the side, well-placed gather and tucks of these shirts. With prices ranging from €195 to €365, the designer felt that the age group buying her shirts would be slightly older so she watched out for those problem areas like back fat, tummy rolls, etc. For example, the sheer panel in the back of the 'Hugh' falls cleverly below your braline.
For Zoom calls to family and friends over Christmas, I thought the wide portrait neckline on the 'Sebastian' shirt (€365, above) was pretty ideal. I love the length of the bracelet sleeve. Less chance of it ending up in the gravy. It is also comes in black and the range is available on AndTate.com and is stocked at Khan in Blackrock in Dublin.
EYES WIDE OPEN
The first thing I did when a deeper lockdown was threatened was to book a hair cut and an eye test. It gave me an opportunity to check out the new DKNY range of eyewear at Specsavers.
The blonde in me went straight for the clear coffee acetate style (pictured above) but if you have a weakness for those tortoiseshell glasses worn by Italian men like I do, take a look at the 'blush tortoiseshell' in a blend of greys and brown and great worn with black or navy. specsavers.ie