White knight

He’s more tweed than shining armour, but US millionaire Budd Holden has brought fresh energy to a Dublin jewellery company

Sat, Oct 19, 2013, 00:00

If there’s a touch of Hollywood glamour to these pictures, it’s not surprising. The gentleman featured, Budd Holden, is a US architect, designer and veteran of the movie industry now resident in Ireland. He has become creative director of Knightsbridge, a jewellery and accessories company founded by Edwina O’Gorman and her partner, Mark McInerney. Their boutique in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre is a flytrap for bridal decor, vintage-inspired headwear pieces and red-carpet alternatives to full veils, as well as something for a special occasion or Christmas gift.

Knightsbridge – the name was chosen for its association with luxury – has a big selection of Jenny Packham jewellery and accessories along with other well-known UK designers. These include Alix Monroe, known for whimsical nature-inspired pieces, Aruna Seth and Freya Rose shoes, chakra bracelets by Daisy, headdresses by Polly Edwards and some earrings and bracelets specially made for Knightsbridge. A new find is Priyanka from India with her avant-garde take on modern adornment. “We have everything but the dress,” says O’Gorman.

It’s all top-quality costume jewellery, with prices from €49 for a pair of studs to €790 for a show-stopping neckpiece and €895 for a pair of jewelled shoes. “A lot of people who have fine jewellery just get bored with it,” says O’Gorman. “Here it’s all about the shopping experience. We understand our customer – someone who can be from 28 to 35 or in her 50s. We want everyone to feel they are in another world.”

O’Gorman, who is from Co Tipperary, worked as an interior designer on high-end residential projects and is, as she says, a “visual” person. McInerney is a zoologist and a former world-champion croquet player who now “keeps our business focused and pushes things forward, whereas I am the creative person”, she says.

The idea of setting up an artisan jewellery business took root at a family wedding, and the fact that the business has grown and developed in a time of adversity has been encouraging. There are ambitious plans for expansion in Ireland, and having Holden on board “makes it a little more fun”, O’Gorman says.

As for Holden, his life is the stuff of fiction. His first arrival in Ireland was in 1947 at the age of 13 when his plane crashed coming into Shannon en route to Berlin. During the Celtic Tiger years, he was engaged to build an ill-fated Tiger Woods-style golf club in Athlone. Having relocated from New York to Ireland, he was walking around Dublin when he first encountered O’Gorman and McInerney shortly after they had opened a boutique on South William Street. He has since forged a close friendship with the couple and brought his years of experience as an art director to bear on their business. For him it was a new start after a long and varied career.

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