I’m back in Toronto now, but I swear I could write a hundred more blog posts on Ireland. I am trying to break it down to just a few more, because in all honesty, if you have the chance, you need to get there yourself to fully experience it.
So next up on my fashion tour of the green isle is, as promised, a bit on the arts and crafts scene in Kilkenny. I remind you, this isn’t crafts in the sense of grannies knitting in a circle. It’s one-of-a-kind designs, crafted by highly skilled artists who have had years and years of training. Here are just a few artists and shops you must check out in the Kilkenny area to get the full Irish design experience.
Millinery by Rebekah Patterson
Tucked upstairs in a building along the street across from the castle in Kilkenny is the home of a fantastic little hat shop. Rebekah Patterson creates her luscious and fanciful hats and fascinators right in her own store/studio. The best thing is, she can whip one up customized just for you and your special occasion. Her playful confections are just as bubbly as the creator.
When you have Courtney Love eyeing and purchasing your pieces, you know you’re on to something that’s not only eclectic but pretty funky too. Yvonne Crotty’s Bonzie Designs is located in nearby Waterford and is definitely worth the quick drive. Her vintage-inspired, theatrical, Victorian-esque pieces have been a massive success on etsy.com. It might not be your typical idea of Irish fashion but that’s just what makes it so appealing.
To sum up Heidi’s designs (who has set up shop in Portlaoise) you can think of two words – tailored and colour. “I like lines that are simple, minimal and structured as such,” explains the designer who also worked for Louise Kennedy. And her fashion can range from something a 25-year-old would wear to something a 60-year-old would try. It’s all in how you accessories and pair her classic cuts that come in vibrant shades of fuchsia, cobalt and red. And she has expensive tastes in fabrics – often sourcing her silks and chiffons from Paris. If you’re looking for chic, classic with a splash of bright hues, Heidi’s creations will fit the bill.
Jewels more your thing? Check out some amazing designers after the jump!
Rudolf Heltzel Goldsmith
What could be a better purchase than a painstakingly handcrafted gem? You must (must!) stop by Rudolf Heltzel in Kilkenny. The shop is gleaming with stunning, masterful pieces that have been made in the small workshop behind the counter (we got special access – check out the pic!). They start with the perfect gem, and create a piece of art around it from sheets of gold, silver and platinum. Every piece is unique, from the stone to the structure – and pieces have even made an appearance at the most recent Oscars (the stunning piece pictured above). Coming home with a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery is always high on my travel shopping list.
Another must-stop for those on the hunt for a stunning jewellery find is Kilkenny designer, Inga Reed’s shop. The award-winning artist uses silver and gold in her simplistic designs that range in price as well so you can find just the right piece. Her classic pieces will quickly become a staple in your accessories wardrobe.
Do you only shop at big name stores when travelling, or do you poke around smaller shops?