We spend time catching up with one of Ireland's hottest fashion exports, Louise Kennedy.
[caption id="attachment_4569" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Louise Kennedy in her Bridal room. Image courtesy of Justin Harrington. "]
[/caption] She's besties with Jeanne Beker (they have been friends for over a decade), just started a
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.
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."
[caption id="attachment_4566" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="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."
[caption id="attachment_4567" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Colourful selections from Louise Kennedy's Spring/Summer 2011 collection. Image courtesy of Justin Harrington. "]
The spring collection is all about pops of colour. What will fall look like?
"It's about a return to investment. People are looking to invest in a great piece, especially after the recession here. For autumn/winter, people zoned in on colour and the '70s feel. Irish people are brave when it comes to colour. There's lots of jersey with applique, silk chiffon tops, animal print in silk. Easy, easy dressing. Colour is still there, but moved from hot colours to jewel tones -- teals, reds, emeralds." Since I'm staying in trendy Dublin for a few days, I had to get
Louise's insider tips on where to dine
. Here are her top spots:
Town Bar & Grill
A mix of Italian and California, I stopped by on Louise's reco and had a delish, super luscious risotto.
Recommended by the Michelin Guide 2011, Bang is just what you expect from Dublin ... a casual, yet smart atmosphere, and good Irish-inspired food for a great price.
A members-only club, if you can get your name on the guest list be sure to swing it. Sit at the cozy and relaxed bar, lounge in deep sofas, or sit outside and sip on cocktails.
Tempt your French taste buds at Pearl, where you can even select from a vegetarian menu.
Louise Kennedy's travel musts
I'm travelling right now, so I just had to ask Louise what her travel necessities are that are both functional (hello, Blackberry!) and stylish (pumps are a must).
A cashmere wrap. You don't need a coat and you just always look stylish.
My own palazzo jersey pants. They're soft and have an elastic waist.
I love Creme de la Mer serums. They're just extra special.
Good pumps. Those are vital.
A Tanner Krolle bag. They're the oldest leather company in the UK, and the bags are fantastic to travel with.
Sisley Botanical Facial Mask With Linden Blossom. Perfect for freshening up after a flight.
Water, water, water!
Blackberry and iPad are musts. I love my iPad, it's so easy and you can really zoom into detail on images.
An Hermes crocodile leather notepad.
What are you fashionable travel must-haves?