Knitwear and accessories shine at Irish designers’ autumn/winter show

Veteran Richard Lewis says he’s tired of skinny dresses, ugly shoes, short sleeves

"I'm tired of skinny dresses and ugly shoes. Hate short sleeves. Hate centre-back splits. Hate slouch." These were among the opinions expressed by veteran fashion designer Richard Lewis at a show organised by the Council of Irish Fashion Designers in Dublin yesterday.

Fourteen members of the council each presented four items from their collections, with Lewis’s elegant navy jersey and wool ensembles one of the more polished quartets on show.

In the past year, the council has arranged seminars on website and business development in the absence of any other support for Irish fashion designers. It also held a masterclass, with Lewis giving members the benefit of his experience and knowledge gained over nearly half a century in the business.

Yesterday, the strengths of the group showed in knitwear and accessories, particularly the beautiful handpainted scarves and bags of Susannah Grogan and Lisa Ryder.


Lisa Shawgi’s knitted dresses and capes in purple/green or pink/blue intarsia offered soft dressing with style while Heather Finn continued with the very individual technicolour bravura she brings to her knitwear.

Elsewhere Emma Manley’s studded motifs – on tunic tops, skirts and shorts – are becoming more subtle as Heidi Higgins’s tailoring and use of tweed become more assured.

In a welcome but slow-paced show with a balanced mix of daywear and special occasion wear, no prices were given.

But some items shone, such as the beautiful wedding dresses and backless satin gowns from Delphine Grandjouan, a designer who continues to win well-deserved accolades.

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

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