On Tuesday I went to Showcase Ireland the annual trade fair organized by the Craft Council of Ireland which exhibits the best and most innovative of Irish craft, design and manufacturing to both Irish and international buyers. Regretfully I had limited time so I speed around trying to take it all in but as there were hundreds of exhibitors I only absorbed a tiny fraction of what was on view. One thing however that stood out for me, as much as a skyscraper would on a road otherwise filled with bungalows, was the extraordinary passion and enthusiasm of all the exhibitors I spoke to for what they do.
Tag Archives: Irish Designers
Designers shape their creations out of nascent ideas in their fertile imaginations. Imaginations that have themselves been configured not just by the sparking of the creative gene but also by the objects, people and place that impinge on their lives and, of course, by a wealth of aesthetic and design history. The designs they conceive shape the lives of the rest of us: good liveable-with design enhances our individual worlds in so many immeasurable ways .
Yesterday evening I went to see Irish Designers Create, a celebration of the work of seventeen of the brightest young creatives in the Irish design firmament, which is on at Dublin’s Brown Thomas department store. The celebration started at yesterday’s Fashion Night Out and will run until the 18th September. There I met….
Emma Manley: The charming and gifted Emma has creativity flowing in her veins and indelibly stamped in her DNA (her Mama is a talented designer/artist). Still just in her mid twenties she has packed an enormous amount into her life thus far. She is a fashion graduate who has experience of the industry in both New York and London (in London she worked at the house of Alexander McQueen). In 2010 she set up her own label, Manley. Emma uses a mix of luxury materials (leather, chiffon and wool) to fashion sophisticated, feminine garments which are given a tougher edge by unusual fabric combinations, they are sometimes dotted with studs and always sprinkled with the fairy dust of über coolness. The starting price of a dress from the Manley label is €220. Web address: http://www.emmamanley.com
Anne Mette O’Connor: Question. What do you get when your blend super niceness with creative talent, an extraordinary eye for detail and a phenomenal work ethic. The answer in Mette’s case is a thriving jewellery business called AMOC (from the initials of her full name). The beautiful piece that Mette is wearing (in the photograph above) is made from silver, charcoal diamonds and ribbon, given the amount of diamonds dangling from the wonder necklace I didn’t dare ask the price but in her shop Mette has beautiful hand crafted pieces from around €100 (I did a post on AMOC in May to read it click here). Web address: www.amoc.com
Heidi Higgins: On my way up to see the exhibition I spotted a dress I liked on a display mannequin, I assumed it was by one of the well know designer stocked by Brown Thomas so I stopped to ask the people working on the display about it, only to find myself talking to Heidi Higgins the designer of said dress. She is one of the seventeen designers chosen to take part in the Irish Designers Create celebration. Upstairs, Heidi a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, had a rail laden with simple chic timeless and stylish garments (mainly dresses) with an Audrey Hepburn-esque feel. The pure wool dresses some in bright jewel colours and some in neutrals were priced around the €300/350 mark. Web address: http://www.heidihiggins.com
Laragh McMonagle: My friend H who has a keen eye for all things beautiful told me, via a comment on the blog some months ago about the work of Blackrock based jewellery designer Laragh McMonagle. I didn’t get a chance to go to the exhibition that H recommended so last night was the first time I saw some of the dream like items from Laragh’s treasure trove. Laragh is mainly self-thought and as you can see from the picture above she uses pearls, silver and gemstones in a pretty unique way. Mea culpa I forgot to check out prices. Web address http://www.bylaragh.com
I didn’t get a chance to look properly at all the other designers work so it is good news that the exhibition continues on the third floor of Brown Thomas until 18th September.
This morning when I woke up, in those few fleeting moments betwixt dreamlike forgetfulness and full wakefulness, I realized with a jolt, that it was Sunday and yet another week had galloped by.
Ireland has no honours system, no lords,dames, sirs or chevaliers. Being on an Irish stamp is as good as it gets. In 2010 An Post (the Irish postal service) issued a set of stamps honouring six contemporary Irish designers. Lainey Keogh was one of them. (the others were: Philip Treacy, John Rocha, Orla Keily, Paul Costelloe and Louise Kennedy.)