Style notes for a fashionable summer
A monthly miscellany of news, views, people and topics in fashion
Dubliner Sean Byrne will graduate as a fully fledged haute couturier in October.
SEAN BYRNE, HAUTE COUTURIER
This is the Paris-based Dubliner Sean Byrne in his working lab coat, the first Irish person to study haute couture in Paris at the famed Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. He was called “Irlande” for the first few months of his study (“because they couldn’t pronounce my name”) and will graduate as a fully fledged haute couturier in October.
Currently working on the collection of French designer Alexis Mabille, Byrne, who trained at the Grafton and set up his own brand in Dublin, decided to take the plunge and apply for the course in Paris when resources to develop his business in Ireland to the next level were not forthcoming. This was despite many plaudits for his work, most publicly, a pink boucle cashmere coat for Sabina Higgins and a red-carpet gown for Sarah Greene for a Hobbit premiere. “I am having these pinch me moments,” he says of his current situation, “I don’t think I have ever been so happy.”
With time to spare during lockdown, Anna Guerin, founder of stylish tweed coats on her The Dualist label, turned her creativity to another small side project, a new Irish sock brand called Sock Co Op.
The unisex socks that feature panoramic images of familiar and much-loved Irish landmarks like Dingle, Cliffs of Moher, Glendalough and others were prompted by a visit to the Skellig Islands when she found there was nothing to keep as a memento.
“I think we are all feeling a little more Irish these days but having trialed some styles as tourist gifts in the lead-up to Christmas, I felt that socks were very successful with the domestic market.” These landscape socks are made using quality combed cotton, eco-friendly yarns and all production is in the EU. Stockists include the National Gallery gift store (and online), MOLI gift store, Blarney and online from sockcoop.com
Now that barbecuing and baking have become lockdown as well as summer pastimes, aprons are having their moment in the sunshine, no longer simply symbols of domesticity, their bib tops, fittings and straps now fashion details. We have selected four here that make their own statement and elevate this humble kitchen warhorse into something stylish and practical.
There’s the colourful Molly Yeh classic rainbow apron in 100 per cent Irish linen for €84, the personalised 100 per cent Irish linen apron €79.95 by Irish Linen House, the floral cotton Marimekko €42 (Marimekko have quite a few aprons) and for those wanting something special, a zipper style brown leather apron €185 by DutchDelux.
A collection of eco-friendly shades launched by the Irish company Tra are named after Irish beaches that include Brittas, Curracloe, Inchydoney, Lahinch, Sandycove and Strandhill, names resonant with memories of swimming and surfing Irish holidays. Made with recycled and sustainable materials, wood and acetate plastic which is strong, lightweight and flexible, for each shade sold, Crann are donating €2 to the Native Woodland Trust, a charity dedicated to the preservation of Ireland’s remaining ancient woodlands.
Eoin McGuinness founded Crann in 2018 to bring eco-friendly products to the Irish consumer, upcycling and recycling materials and turning waste into handcrafted sunglasses and watches.
DO IT YOURSELF REPAIRS
Alan Taylor, Irish founder of London-based Omdo Studios, a multi-disciplinary studio centred on the ethos of sustainable circular design and collaboration, has produced a new series of short DIY films on how to repair different problems arising from the everyday wear and tear of clothing. The playlist covers how to sew on a shirt button, hemming trousers/skirts/dresses, shining leather shoes, covering moth holes and dyeing garments with natural dyes. Visit omdo-studios.com and get repairing.
A new swimwear collection from H&M is a collaboration with an all-female surfing community in Cornwall called Women+Waves, a collective founded in 2017 by Rachel Murphy. The collection includes wetsuits in high-quality natural rubber, rash guards and swimsuits designed for performance both in sea and on land, so surf and style ready.
Also included are a hoodie, T-shirt and accessories and the whole collection is made from fabric blends with at least 50 per cent sustainably sourced materials such as recycled polyamide, polyester and organic cotton. The colour palette is a cool one, of muted greens, soft yellow and black, and details include zip openings, body enhancing seams and secure straps. Prices are €17.99 for bikini tops, €14.99 for bottoms and €99.99 for the wetsuit.
Footless tights, crotchless tights, open toed or seamed tights? The Tights Department on the first floor of Dublin’s Stephen’s Green Centre, Ireland’s only dedicated legwear boutique (recently reopened and online), has every kind of leg covering imaginable for any time of year.
Owner Katie McDonnell, a LSAD fashion graduate with an MA in Design Practice from DIT, presides over hundreds of varieties in her tiny space mostly sourced from Italy, a business which started as a pop-up in Dawson Street five years ago. Irish customers, she says, aren’t great fans of sheer tights though she has matt varieties that “make the legs look airbrushed” and others that give that extra polish to the pins. Nude fishnets are also popular in summer as well as sheer ankle socks like these with henna or tattoo feather style ankle décor for €8.50 and €6.50. She also sells online and friends have praised her service and free, speedy delivery. Visit tightsdept.com