Louise Kennedy’s bright new collection for spring/summer
‘It’s the most colourful collection in a decade ... inspired by positive change in the air’
Thalia (L) wearing Coco Crepe Coral Jacket (€995), Abby Silk Coral Top (€495), Rachel Crepe Fuchsia Trousers (€495) and Kelly wearing Adele Lace Fuchsia Top (€795), Yoshi Coral Jersey Trousers (€495). Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland
The future is bright and bold according to Louise Kennedy, showcasing her spring/summer 2018 collection in the Gallagher Gallery at the RHA in Dublin on Tuesday. Valued customers of the designer and celebrity fans such as Aoibhín Garrihy, Lorraine Keane and Pamela Flood were some of the 250 guests that were in attendance to witness the ninety looks that walked the catwalk.
Surrounded by stark landscape paintings by artist Elizabeth Magill, Kennedy's collection inspired a spring wardrobe with a newfound sense of optimism and freedom, with her signature pieces show up in saturated shades of eye-popping fuchsia to tropical green.
Kennedy says: “It’s our most colourful collection in a decade. It feels, right now, that we express ourselves in colour and dare to be a little braver, bolder and confident. As Diana Vreeland said, ‘Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time … You can see and feel everything in clothes’. And I firmly believe that there is a positive change in the air.”
This translated to a masterclass of clashing colours and layers, as Kennedy encouraged eager risk takers to go all in with head-to-toe colour. Celebrating an upbeat new mood expressed in a crescendo of clashing corals and pinks which were the show's finale. “I adore bright, bold colour – especially coral and pink, the colours of optimism and joy. Clashing colour is a huge trend this season. We are pairing coral beaded palazzo pants with a fuchsia top,” Kennedy says. A youthful energy permeated the show and this was felt via looser cuts, sleeveless dresses and the strong mixing of colours.
Embracing all shades of pink, the show opened with softer pastels and featured a standout piece for Kennedy - a dusty pink coat in lustrous tweed: “I am in love with pink this season, both pastel and bright. I love the idea of making flattering pink a joyous, spirit-lifting everyday colour. Our baby pink tweed three-quarter Kaia coat, with softest tweed from a famous Italian mill, is one of my favourite pieces.”
Colour shy women can take a more subtle approach with classic shades of monochrome as imagined in the Yasmin dress – an elegant, one shoulder design with an alluring split that reveals a contrasting shade styled over trousers. “White is trending for spring and we have our own take on that most elegant and expensive of colours – an ice-white and a creamy ivory,” says Kennedy. There was numerous items that in isolation tapped into Kennedy's rich signatures, in particular the strong tailoring story based around navy and ivory that dominated the show. Mr. Paddy Paws, Kennedy's miniature Schnazuer, made a welcome return after debuting on jumpers last season, leaving subtle paw prints in crystal embellishment on sleeves and lapels.
Carrying on the white trend but still incorporating a hint of colour is a chic embellished shift dress in a midi length with Kennedy’s signature floral embroidery. The bright blue hue also stood alone in a Jackie Onassis embellished high-neck top and tailored trousers, that also featured in a few different colour-ways. Hints of embellishment sparkled on the runway with beaded pencil skirts and cosy knits drawing appreciation from the crowd.
But it isn’t only cobalt blue that gets the Kennedy treatment. “I married sea greens, ocean blues and turquoise, the colours of Jumby Bay, in a collection of hand-beaded ombre pieces and hand-printed silk kaftans. Relaxed jersey and silk predominate in this part of the collection, in keeping with an island living vibe.” That island living also manifested itself on the catwalks in a range of kaftans ranging from maxi lengths to sheer and printed that wouldn't look out of place poolside.
Carrying on Kennedy's tradition of closing with a bridal look, colour wasn't absent from the finale with model Thalia wearing a simple wedding dress and dramatic veil complete with pink flowers and pink slip on flats.