Stand out in the racing crowd with these eye-catching headpieces

Fashion: When Jen Nollaig’s Christmas collection went viral she challenged herself to create something sunnier

Nollaig Rosa: ‘My take on summer meets Christmas with vintage costume jewellery and the finest fake flowers.’ Photograph: Edward Keegan

Nollaig Rosa: ‘My take on summer meets Christmas with vintage costume jewellery and the finest fake flowers.’ Photograph: Edward Keegan

 

Stuck for something sensational to wear to the races? Stand out from the crowd with eyewear that won’t leave you in the shade

Jen Nollaig (aka Jenny Wilson) a self-styled “Christmas purist” was billed as Ireland’s most Christmassy woman last December and it made her name worldwide. Her 12 madcap Christmas looks based on tree decorations published in The Irish Times Magazine went viral and in the space of a week she found herself Googling translations about her collection in Chinese, Korean, French and Arabic. “The response was overwhelming”, she recalls “and when people contacted me inquiring if I did custom orders for non-Christmas pieces, I challenged myself to move out of my Christmas comfort zone to see if I could create eyewear”. And so a sunny new collection called In Bloom was created “from the unlimited beauty in nature”.

Meadow Mary: Retro frames customised with fake flowers and vintage costume jewellery. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Meadow Mary: Retro frames customised with fake flowers and vintage costume jewellery. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Trellis: Frame made from plastic garden wire decorated with fake flowers inset with vintage jewels. Gold frame made from wire customised with gold beads. On the eye frame, plastic springs from an acquarium plant and gold beads. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Trellis: Frame made from plastic garden wire decorated with fake flowers inset with vintage jewels. Gold frame made from wire customised with gold beads. On the eye frame, plastic springs from an acquarium plant and gold beads. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Twilight Tilda: Made with novelty glasses and customised gold wire layered with petals and finished with a pearl. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Twilight Tilda: Made with novelty glasses and customised gold wire layered with petals and finished with a pearl. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Azalea: Upcycled sunglass frames decorated with fake flowers and deconstructed Christmas decorations. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Azalea: Upcycled sunglass frames decorated with fake flowers and deconstructed Christmas decorations. Photograph: Edward Keegan

The collection is made from upcycled frames, fake flowers, pieces of old jewellery and a few bits of Christmas decoration as well. “For me fake flowers are a natural choice as they are rather tacky which I love. Tacky excites me. What thrills me most is the challenge of pushing the boundaries of the conventional eyewear aesthetic,” she says. “Upcycling is part of my creative process. I love the idea of taking something old and giving it a new life and I love the fact that a garment or a piece of jewellery had a past life or story to tell.”

Cosmic Lily: Fake lilies and deconstructed Christmas decorations layered onto old sunglass frames. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Cosmic Lily: Fake lilies and deconstructed Christmas decorations layered onto old sunglass frames. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Forget Me Not: Upcycled sunglass frames with a woven base frame on top, adorned with fake flowers and deconstructed Christmas decoration. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Forget Me Not: Upcycled sunglass frames with a woven base frame on top, adorned with fake flowers and deconstructed Christmas decoration. Photograph: Edward Keegan

The Limerick School of Art graduate who interned with Joanne Hynes had a corporate career in London before returning home to another life of marriage and motherhood. The birth of her second child unleashed a long dormant freewheeling creativity and that Christmas collection.

Crimson Boom: novelty party glasses and crimson tinted lenses constructed with garden wire, woven gold sprigs, feathers and gold beads. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Crimson Boom: novelty party glasses and crimson tinted lenses constructed with garden wire, woven gold sprigs, feathers and gold beads. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Eden: Upcycled frames customised with fake flowers and pearls and finished with a pink gingham trim. Photograph: Edward Keegan
Eden: Upcycled frames customised with fake flowers and pearls and finished with a pink gingham trim. Photograph: Edward Keegan

She works on her pieces at night. “When it is 3am and the kids and my husband are all asleep, there are fake flowers and glitter all over my kitchen floor. I look in the mirror to see what the shades look like on and sometimes I ask myself ‘am I mad?’ Once I have sourced the materials, I begin. In most cases I don’t have a set idea of what the end piece will look like. It is very organic – the materials I use dictate the finished form and each piece is a one off.”  For further information and prices contact her at jennollaig@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram.

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