Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Louise Kennedy A/W 2011 show

Deirdre McQuillan covered the launch for the paper – my review is a little more, shall we say, awestruck! Louise Kennedy’s showroom and home at 56 Merrion Square is a remnant of a forgotten time, both in Dublin and in …

Wed, Sep 14, 2011, 16:36

   

Deirdre McQuillan covered the launch for the paper – my review is a little more, shall we say, awestruck!

Louise Kennedy’s showroom and home at 56 Merrion Square is a remnant of a forgotten time, both in Dublin and in fashion. Last night, crowds of women – and men – were ushered in to witness her autumn/winter fashion show in the plush interiors of her Georgian abode. Inside the front door there was a glass-topped table, adorned with flowers by Adonis; a gentleman in his fifties walks around holding a tray of champagne and sparkling water; through the arched doorway, past the hall and the apparently spiral staircase there is a seating area – sit down there, go on, the show’s about to start.

At the door, Kennedy herself greets me like an old friend; we haven’t met but, she says, she recognises my avatar. Peter O’Brien is there and, though he doesn’t remember the last time we met, he remembers the compliment I paid him when I said he was the funniest and best-dressed Irish man on Twitter. He is concerned that he comes across badly; I assure him that he doesn’t.

The show itself is conducted behind the strains of loud, French jazz music. Edith Piaf features, I’m sure – the echoes of Coco Chanel are almost uncanny. In this, her home, Kennedy shows her heft as one of Ireland’s last remaining couturiers. The audience is 95 per cent customers; the media, insofar as it is present, is present only as a courtesy. Kennedy doesn’t need us, and we know it. Most of the attendees are admirers of her clothing, or of her, or both.

The collection marries glamour and elegance, beginning with a beautiful fur coat and ending with a series of long, black gowns – there are feathers and lace, silk and wool crepe; there is floor-length and there is assymetric. Half of the clothes, at least, I would wear; the other half, I would cherish.

It’s no mean feat, catering to customers who span generations, but it is achieved here in clothing that would suit both mother and daughter, both bride and bridesmaid, if not quite flowergirl. It’s a traditional type of design, but it’s not old-fashioned; it’s classic, but not boring; it’s chic, but never staid. The music may be French, but this is a thoroughly Irish affair, and a breathtaking one, at that. It is a show that won’t soon be forgotten.

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