Bar Hemingway at the Ritz was packed with Paris Fashion Week glamazons when Limerick designer Aoife McNamara arrived at the hotel fresh from her runway window and immediately turned heads. All eyes darted to the blonde girl wearing the lustrous white silk dress with a square neckline and delicate pink velvet straps, and turning to see the oversized bow and tie in a glittery tweed with patches of metallic thread.
I’m pretty sure Coco Chanel – who for years had a suite at the Ritz, just across from her luxury apartment and salon on Rue Cambon – would have approved of her fabric choices. Chanel imported Linton tweeds from Cumbria in the UK for her famous signature jackets and in McNamara’s case she uses tweeds from the Jules Tournier company, known in France for their creativity, and her colorful blend was inspired by the colors of the flowers in the Burren, Co. Clare.
McNamara’s Rewild collection is a further exploration of her signature focus on sustainable fashion, offering a range of new dress shapes in a luxurious silk fabric. She sourced it from an Indo-German social enterprise that has expanded its range of sustainable fashion beyond organic cotton or hemp to include premium, cruelty-free silk. Its workers are fairly paid and highly skilled craftsmen and you can see the sheen of the silk in the strapless sky blue dress with a corset back and tweed statement bow, which will cost €465 when it goes on sale in November.
McNamara was one of several up-and-coming designers invited to exhibit at the event and from a business standpoint it was a wise investment given that it was showcased during a key week in the fashion calendar. McNamara says she can already see online engagement with more international followers. Also, the fact that one of the models who appeared on her show has more than a million followers on Instagram helped.
The white dress McNamara wore to the after party has a boned bodice and full skirt and will retail for €425. She’s also designed a short white version with a big blue silk bow, which will retail for €425.
McNamara, a graduate of LSAD, unveiled eight pieces in Paris, some using a heather gray tweed inspired by the colors of the Burren landscape and made by John Hanly in Nenagh. This textured Irish tweed is found in a cropped waistcoat (€140), trousers (€200), a puff-sleeved Victorian-style jacket (€420) and a dramatic long coat. Lined in blue, it is the most expensive piece in this new collection at €600.
Back in Adare at her Aoife Ireland studio and high street shop, McNamara says, “It’s great to have the Paris show in the bag because sometimes I feel like, ‘I’m almost an imposter going to these countries ?’ But after being there and showing and seeing the reactions to my designs, I feel like I can be there. I felt like it was right, that it made perfect sense, and the international market, they loved it.”
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The persistent designer is already planning for next year. She sells in her own store, online and also plans pop-ups. “I plan where I want to show, where I want to be, and New York is the market I want to reach. Paris was amazing and a nice stepping stone, but I would definitely see my clothes in stores in New York.” www.aoifeireland.com
History of the fashion house
new movie Mrs. Harris goes to Paris has a feel-good theme, dare to dream, where the storyline and characters falter at times, but the couture attire makes up for it!
Last year I was very fortunate to be invited to a private visit to the Dior archives before attending the biennial show. It was an exciting career milestone to see important pieces from fashion history. However, you don’t have to be a fashion editor to experience Dior’s story now, something that might appeal to readers after seeing the recent film.
The haute couture house has opened La Galerie Dior, a permanent exhibition in Paris that testifies to the vision of Christian Dior and his six successors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and the current Maria Grazia Chiuri .
Visiting the exhibition takes about two hours. Spread over three floors, it is absolutely captivating, from the opening “diorama” with more than a thousand pieces in color-coded sections, to the exhibits. You won’t skip the historical sections; You’ll be amazed after seeing the proportions and elegant lines of Dior’s iconic ‘Bar’ jacket from its landmark 1947 New Look collection.
There are endless strapless haute couture dresses that I think a modern day woman Harris would be seduced by. You might return home with a renewed interest in Dior ready-to-wear, sold exclusively in Ireland at Brown Thomas. galeriedior.com
https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/style-notes-limerick-designs-turn-heads-at-paris-fashion-week-and-an-iconic-dior-exhibition-42065857.html Style Notes: Limerick designs turn heads at Paris Fashion Week and an iconic Dior exhibition