High-tech Hynes: fashion designer Joanne Hynes's red carpet run
We’ll be seeing plenty of avant-garde Irish designer Joanne Hynes’s high tech designs on the red carpet his autumn
Blue and gold sequin skirt, €495, and top, €595
One thing that can be said about designer Joanne Hynes is that she is fearless when it comes to fashion. That somewhat contrarian nature means she is never afraid to tackle something new and even looks different every time you see her. She has been in business 10 years and still follows her own path – among her future plans is a career retrospective.
“I am a fashion designer, image consultant, stylist, businesswoman and a mother, who approaches every project with a creative vision,” she announces on her website. Being pregnant with her second child, due in September, has not prevented her from completing an ambitious autumn-winter collection and launching a styling service.
Her accessories are her money spinners. The elaborate jewelled collars, made in India, which she started designing 10 years ago, sell all over the world and have become her signature, enabling her to take more risks with her main line fashion collection. “I like to do new things and have always been attracted to things you are not supposed to like, such as Perspex, for example,” she says with a grin.
Her winter collection is based around high tech fabrics such as neoprene, Lurex and mesh in capacious shapes. Already several pieces have been earmarked for Transformers premieres by model Madeline Mulqueen, girlfriend of Wicklow actor and star of the movie Jack Reynor. There’s a curvy, roomy black coat, for instance, decorated with abstract patches of embroidered military style insignia stripes, a motif repeated elsewhere on stiff little dresses. “I love the idea of a heavy winter coat – it’s an old-school thing – inspired by my grandmother,” she says.
Elsewhere the eye is caught by a black and green neoprene dress decorated with laser-cut Perspex and a glittering tunic and skirt intricately covered in a mosaic of Perspex paillettes – to catch the light and a lot of attention.
A love of craft and a west of Ireland waywardness have always informed her style, from her debut collection tinkling with salvaged chandelier crystals to tweeds embellished freely with brocade, raffia, feathers and sequins. A recent collection in gold, silver and patent leather was shown in Kiev – one dress featured a tiger image with a woman’s head, prefiguring motifs used by Prada. She draws out other items from her tightly packed rails such as a dress covered in pale green sequins worn by Katie Perry; Mongolian fur jackets from 2004; a quilted bomber jacket laden down with crystals that weighs 6kg, along with some pieces that never went into production.
She runs a design studio in Ringsend and has recently been working with the the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, dealing with start ups and advising on design, “essentially about brand building”, she says. So what advice would she give to a young designer hoping to begin a career in fashion? “Start small – there is no need to do big collections – that’s what I have learnt.”
Styling and image consulting is what she has been doing for years, working with customers – women from all walks of life, many of them celebrities, helping them dress with confidence. On the summer’s day we met, she was wearing a two-piece silk printed top and trousers from another of her collections, prefiguring by several years another popular trend.
At home in Wicklow where she lives with her partner and 2½-year-old daughter, Fainche, she seems more content these days, but no less driven – “though I would rather plant vegetables out the back now than go to London Fashion Week”.