We spend time catching up with one of Ireland’s hottest fashion exports, Louise Kennedy.
Louise Kennedy in her Bridal room. Image courtesy of Justin Harrington.
She’s besties with Jeanne Beker (they have been friends for over a decade), just started a bridal collection after 27 years in the fashion biz, and hopes to make her way back to Toronto sometime in the near future. We chatted with the Irish designer about Dublin hot spots, travel musts and what makes her luxe line so Irish and international at the same time.
Louise Kennedy has become synonymous with Irish fashion. Her clean, classic lines and bold bright colour choices have put her not only on the Irish design map, but the fashion world’s map as well. And her shop in Dublin has clearly become a destination for visitors looking for her clothing and more — she also has a line of crystal, a selection of other design and home products that she handpicks, and now her 25-piece bridal collection.
Why start a bridal collection?
“It was the next natural progression. From my collection, to a crystal collection (which Jeanne Beker helped launch in the Irish high-end department store Brown Thomas) and eventually we will do china, after 27 years it was natural to get into the new market of bridal.”
A dress from Louise Kennedy's bridal collection. Image courtesy of Justin Harrington.
Explain a bit about the bridal collection.
“There are 25 dresses, all completely bespoke. It was created for the non-traditional bride. It’s leaner, more about the cut and the body and very ’30s inspired. I guess I’ve always been known for cut and technique and timelessness. This brings in the detailing and craftsmanship to the bridal collection. At our store it’s a very seamless experience for the bride.”
Describe Irish fashion.
“From my personal perspective, we’re all about tailoring and international and not necessarily the heritage of Ireland. A lot of people outside of Ireland think we’re American based. It’s not necessarily Irish influenced and more about the woman and what will look good on her. I love fine fabrics and silks and use them a lot.” Read more…
If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll know that I’m spending a little bit of time in sunny (albeit, chilly) Ireland. I’ve spent the last few days in Dublin, scouring for local designer shops and unique finds, chatting with designers and dipping into a Guinness or two (or three, or four … who’s counting?). I found a spot that is definitely worth sharing and is a must on any Dublin visit (calling all fashion addicts!).
A Claire O'Connor dress and Philip Treacy topper. Image courtesy of Justin Harrington.
At the Powerscourt Shopping Centre you’ll find a slew of quaint, eccentric, unique little shops (from flowers, to jewels, to coffee and ice cream) and it’s just off of Grafton Street (the main pedestrian shopping area). But the real gem for fashion lovers is on the very top floor in a spacious corner called the Design Centre. Here’s what I learned about the shop and a few tidbits about Irish design:
1. The Design Centre has been a mainstay in the Irish fashion industry for 30 years. The first of its kind in Dublin, it’s a platform for Irish designers (old and new) and has launched many design careers (John Rocha, anyone?).
2. It used to only be Irish designer goods you could find here, but in the mid-’90s they introduced the Irish style-set to international finds such as Preen and Julien MacDonald. Read more…
This summer I’m taking a new approach to my hair. I’m going to work with my natural texture instead of against it. That means I’m going to accept my natural, imperfect waves instead of forcing them into curls or a sleek straight ‘do. My main reasons for doing this?
1. I’m tired of spending way too much time on my hair in the morning – I’d rather some more shut eye minutes!
2. I want to give my over-processed hair a break from styling and products.
Jorge Joao, Redken Artist and stylist at KOI Hair Studio also got me hooked on this idea. “It’s huge right now to embrace your natural texture,” he insists. “Use very minimal product and it means less maintenance. The humidity can be our biggest enemy, so take advantage your own texture and use what you have. The less work and artificial tools you use, the better your hair will look.”
Hmm, ok, so I asked Jorge to give me a cute example of how to do something fun and simple to your hair, without all the product and styling, and we came up with this look from the Charlotte Ronson runway. Here are the simple ways to get this look if you’re letting your natural texture shine through. Seriously, it’s only two steps!