Back in black: Louise Kennedy surprises for Autumn/Winter 2018

A bride in a black dress and ballet inspired skirts dominate new season collection

Floor length dress hand embellished with crystal and feathers Photograph: Louise Kennedy

Floor length dress hand embellished with crystal and feathers Photograph: Louise Kennedy

 

A black bride, long black ballet inspired tulle skirts and feathers – Louise Kennedy had some surprises up her sophisticated sleeves for her autumn/winter fashion show held in the Merrion Hotel on Thursday in a garden presentation on the terrace with floral arrangements from Appassionata.

The bride in a floor length sheath of beaded black lace from the famous French lacemaker Sophie Hallette (as worn by Kate Middleton) topped with a cloud of black tulle was a showstopper, but within the collection, black tulle and feathers – a mix of marabou and ostrich – used for the first time by the designer, gave the collection a cheekier, more carefree edge, particularly when the long skirts were teamed under oversize knits. Kennedy calls it the “top down” effect.

This was a beautiful collection.

Hand embellished wool crepe cape with floral beadwork and feathers and lambswool knit sweater (right) Photograph: Louise Kennedy
Hand embellished wool crepe cape with floral beadwork and feathers and lambswool knit sweater (right) Photograph: Louise Kennedy

Well known for her love of embellishment, there were the familiar touches – black jet jewelling, silver embroidery (on navy shawls and tunic tops) and lavish beading decorated coats, jackets, collars, cuffs and borders, glamorous glitter for a rich, luxurious look.

Starring in the 73 piece collection were her Linton tweeds in royal purple and black, dresses with dropped waists and coats in these chunky fabrics as well as a short, cute skirt in a finer black/navy/white Linton tweed threaded with rubber. Elsewhere fuller skirts were notable either worn with a blouson style jacket, a sloppy cashmere jumper or more formally with a black feather trimmed jacket.

Hand embellished sequinned tweed dress (left) andLinton tweed dropped waist dress with marabou trim Photograph: Louise Kennedy
Hand embellished sequinned tweed dress (left) andLinton tweed dropped waist dress with marabou trim Photograph: Louise Kennedy
Joelle embellished red coat and black tulle skirt and (right) red embellished cashmere sweater Photograph: Louise Kennedy
Joelle embellished red coat and black tulle skirt and (right) red embellished cashmere sweater Photograph: Louise Kennedy

Being winter, colours throughout were dark but with shots of specially dyed colour – red, turquoise, yellow and purple, mostly featuring in the chunky cashmere and merino knits which have become best sellers worn casually with slim or flared cropped trousers.

Kennedy’s collaboration with Indian and Italian artisans makes her accessories very special like the jewel toned laser cut suede scarves from Florence, but particularly the exquisite hand embroidered silk Kalamkari wraps from Kashmir that take at least six months to make and cost thousands. One New York customer framed hers for display. The show was styled by Catherine Condell with headpieces by Michael Leong.

Prices for the autumn/winter collection start at €195 for a t-shirt, with trousers, tulle skirts and knits €495 up to €995 for jackets with coats from €1,495.

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