How to wear luxury in lockdown with Louise Kennedy

Brighten it with uplifting colour. Focus on comfort knitwear

Go back to the archive, reuse leftover materials, tighten up the collection

Go back to the archive, reuse leftover materials, tighten up the collection

 

 “I got off the flight from New York on Sunday, March 8th and I haven’t seen an airport since” says Louise Kennedy whose punishing annual itinerary pre-pandemic took her on business trips to London, New York, Porto, Florence, Paris and India.

“Everything is now at a reduced pace but you can do everything but differently”, she says explaining that a lot of her collection can be viewed digitally and visits abroad have been replaced by Zoom and WeChat calls fortified by strong relationships built up over the years with clients, manufacturers and suppliers. “And since it has been the only time we have ever had to stop and breathe, we spent a lot of time discussing this collection”, she says.

Lydia blazer €1495, Kim trousers (made to order) and purple Alena sweater €695
Lydia blazer €1495, Kim trousers (made to order) and purple Alena sweater €695
Aura red crepe dress with cape detail €1295 with bee brooches €95 each
Aura red crepe dress with cape detail €1295 with bee brooches €95 each
Greta cotton/jersey top with pintuck detailing €495, trousers €495
Greta cotton/jersey top with pintuck detailing €495, trousers €495
Harlow corset tulle dress with beaded feather corsage €1495, styled with Savannah black lurex tweed blazer €995
Harlow corset tulle dress with beaded feather corsage €1495, styled with Savannah black lurex tweed blazer €995

So how to dress when this Covid-19 era is battering the luxury sector with no weddings, no parties, no travel, no special events when you are Ireland’s leading fashion designer? Her answer – go back to the archive, reuse leftover materials, tighten up the collection.

Brighten it with uplifting colour. Focus on comfort knitwear. And, for a royal flush, draw attention to a new French fabric called Queen of Hearts – a glorious jacquard with playing card suits – hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs in red, purple and black – what’s not to like? Stud a dress with crystal bee brooches or plant glittering Luna arcs on cashmere sweaters. Embellish sleeves with feathers for lockdown luxury. (NB These can be cleaned safely in a gentle dry clean cycle).

“Having an archive of 37 years means that we have a good base of fabrics and references and during the lockdown, I have dipped into that and have catalogued everything, so it is now super-efficient. We can use fabric we were sitting on and add embellishments to certain styles for example,” says Kennedy.

Amorette embellished heart sweater €895, tulle Celia skirt €595. Mr Paddy Paws wears silk devore wrap €695
Amorette embellished heart sweater €895, tulle Celia skirt €595. Mr Paddy Paws wears silk devore wrap €695
Lily cropped sleeve lambswool sweater €595 and Luna brooches €195 each
Lily cropped sleeve lambswool sweater €595 and Luna brooches €195 each
Feathered Sadie sweater €1295 with Kim trousers (made to order) and scarlet Kennedy tote €1395
Feathered Sadie sweater €1295 with Kim trousers (made to order) and scarlet Kennedy tote €1395
Harlow corset tulle dress with beaded feather corsage €1495, styled with Savannah black lurex tweed blazer €995
Harlow corset tulle dress with beaded feather corsage €1495, styled with Savannah black lurex tweed blazer €995

The strength of this collection called “All You Need is Love” lies in its bold, strong colours – reds, purples, pinks and black, best expressed in a pink sweater with hand beaded hearts worn over a red tulle skirt. Elsewhere a sharp jacquard trouser suit with a ruffle blouse or purple sweater is perfect for tabletop dressing on Zoom calls. Check out also a neat cropped black jacket with statement buttons called the Dena which does double duty with either jeans and military boots or over a tulle black dress – a perfect warrior for high/low dressing.

All clothes from Louise Kennedy’s Autumn/Winter 2020 collection.

Photography: Barry McCall, styling: Catherine Condell, models: Thalia Heffernan and Mr Paddy Paws, make up: Leanne Nugent. Location: Louise Kennedy’s flagship store at 56 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

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