How to make an ordinary outfit look extraordinary

Mary Ginnifer is a stylist who creates accessories with a theatrical edge

“To make an ordinary outfit look extraordinary, add a statement accessory – a neckpiece, cape, headpiece or cuff. ” So says Cork stylist Mary Ginnifer who not only conceived, directed and styled this wild,offbeat shoot with award-winning photographer Diana Lemcio and model Jessica Hourigan, but also made many of the accessories herself. “Even a delicately embellished belt can transform your look from bland to grand,” she adds.

The outfit choices selected from vintage, high end and high street boutiques in her native city and her own accessory designs were inspired by the colours and markings of the grey heron, that solitary bird first encountered by her as a child walking with her father along the Lee.

“The grey heron has mythic status and as a nature lover I am particularly drawn to it,” she says. “The hand-crafted feathered, nest like and egg motifs statement accessories add a theatrical edge while vintage and modern pieces create that spirit of summer and bohemian festival season.”

Fine arts background

Ginnifer’s fine arts background – she is a graduate of the Crawford College of Art & Design – informs her conceptual approach to fashion editorials like this. But her career has developed in other directions too. She has created dresses for singer Julie Feeney and styled her videos, taken part in performance art shows and opened Cork Fashion Week in 2013 with a performance piece.


This year has been an exceptionally busy one for her too. She has designed outfits for Ireland’s winning entry for The Visionary Awards 2017 which go on to compete in London and has also been approached by two of the industry’s leading hair stylists to style and design collections for upcoming shows in Paris and London.

Ginnifer has also styled vocalist and composer Sue Rynhart for her Irish tour, album covers, gigs, promotional shoots and music videos. At the end of the summer she will have an exhibition of her independent fashion shoots whose motivating forces draw from theatre and performance rather than current trends.

Make up artist: Nicole Lynch

Hair design: Origin Hair Design, Cork

Model: Jessica Hourigan, Runaway Modelling Agency, Cork

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author