Tweeds with a twist: Louise Kennedy’s autumn-winter luxury
The Irish designer is unveiling a sparkling collection that mixes tradition with innovation
Tweeds with a twist: Louise Kennedy is launching her new collection on Tuesday, September 3rd
“It all stemmed from the Black Watch tartan,” Louise Kennedy says as she shrugs on a tartan coat from her new autumn-winter collection – she calls it tweeds with a twist – in the studio downstairs at her home and headquarters of 21 years, on Merrion Square in Dublin.
Longer and more tailored than usual, but deceptively light, the coat is flecked with Lurex. Worn with a matching long tartan skirt and a corsage of jet and feathers, it creates an unmistakably luxurious ensemble.
The collection, which Kennedy is launching at Mercedes-Benz’s Ballsbridge showroom, in south Dublin, on Tuesday, also features equally flamboyant green glitter tweed trouser suits and green polka-dot dresses.
Miniskirts featuring embroidered images of the designer’s miniature schnauzer, Paddy, complete with an emerald collar, add a bit of mischief to the collection. Like Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette, Paddy has his own fan base. It includes the English artist Clare Villar, who travelled to Dublin to do his portrait, adding to a canine portfolio that has included images of him in knit and cotton.
Elsewhere, Kennedy’s suits come with trousers in flared or narrow shapes, inspired by the slick tailoring of Bianca Jagger, who made headlines with the white tuxedo she wore at her marriage to Mick Jagger. Kennedy’s Leonie trousers, created nearly 30 years ago, are customer staples, tweaked over the years but still bestsellers, this time edged with fringed bandsman stripes.
It’s a glittering collection in every sense, not just from the Lurex that makes the tweeds sparkle but also from the caped coats and shorter jackets that come weighted with Kennedy’s signature jet beading, hand-embroidered in India.
These are the showpieces in the collection, but Kennedy is also known for affordable jersey dresses and separates in a heavyweight jersey crepe that drapes well. It is used for wardrobe staples that work from day to evening, in a variety of vibrant colours as well as the more everyday navies and blacks. “They are all our own dyes, and, like like the tweeds, are specially made for us,” she says.
What catch the eye are those hot pinks, oranges and turquoise, fiery shades that customers love, and that will also feature in her spring-summer collection for 2020. But now it’s the shots of emerald that will reinvigorate our wardrobes, and brighten up the dark days of winter.
Photographed at Ballyfin Demesne, in Co Laois, by Barry McCall; styling by Catherine Condell; hair by Michael Leong; make-up by Zoe Clarke. Bucket hat by Anthony Peto; 300S cabriolet by Mercedes-Benz