This is a very exciting time, not only for fashion in New York City but also for fashion designers around the world. Finally the day had arrived that some of my very favorite Irish designers from Fee G to Caroline Matthews, along with many more showcased their designs in this year’s September fashion week. Funnily enough, it could not have been any more of an Irish day, as New York was flooded with torrential rain but this did not stop the excitement surrounding the event. Unfortunately, I arrived a little late due to the weather and leaving Marissa Webbs show but thankfully there was an amazing display after the show with all the designers look books, so I was relieved. Marietta Doran who organized Irish Fashion Showcase, as always held an amazing show that was elegant from start to finish. I was blown away by the selection of designers and how diverse each collection was. I must say for a small country, Ireland once again has demonstrated we are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fashion design. For me personally, there was one particular designer that really had me at the edge of my seat, no joke. If I were to try to describe her show it would be to “Expect the Unexpected”. You must remember this name Carol Kennelly, she is fast coming a household name, not only in Ireland but worldwide and I will tell you why. Carol Kennelly’s millinery designs are totally inspired from her passion and love for hats and you can see this in her work. Her designs have been worn on “Best Dressed” winners from Melbourne to Tennessee. One piece in particular, which Carol wore on the night, was a beautiful giant rose headpiece that was also featured in the 2015 instillation at Kentucky Derby Museum.
When chatting with Carol back stage about her work and what inspired and motivated her in relation to her designs, she advised at first, she was simply designing for herself, as she felt other hats were only half fulfilling. Some of you may not realize it but in Ireland hats are a “must have” accessory for most social occasions, whether it is a wedding or a trip to the Galway Races. So it wasn’t long before Carol’s friends demanded a signature “Kennelly “design, starting of the fashion business which we see today. Decadent jeweling, intricate pearling, exotic feathers, vintage inspired but with a modern twist makes Carol Kennelly design’s unique from everyone else. You may laugh at me for saying this but you can lose yourself in her designs. For me they have a mystical or dream like feel, which is infectious. I have never been to the Galway races but I do know what designer I will have on speed dial, when I next have a social event. What is all the more lovable about this collection is after having meet Carol, you can see why she has become so successful, she is bubbly with a warm personality, its hard not to want to become her best friend.
Another Irish favorite for me on the night was Jennifer Rothwell, who created a fabulous collection. Her work is inspired by the artwork of Irish artist Harry Clark which is strongly influenced by stained glass windows married with Irish Fairy Folklore mythology. An amazing selection of luxurious fabrics and intricate prints are Jennifer’s forte. Innovative designs with a high quality finish, creates a collection that is unique, yet elegant and timeless. Each garment is created with care, from the inside stitching to the outside print. Jennifer along with Carol both designers have created collections, which are not only loved in Ireland but are fast becoming recognized worldwide. Both ladies have perfectly showcased just some of the talent to be found on our small shores, and its just a little reminder to everyone that we are a fashion force to be reckoned with. Creating timeless designs for the sophisticated woman, The Irish Fashion Showcase will hopefully become a regular feature of New York Fashion Week.