In a stately townhouse on Merrion Square, in charming Dublin, the reigning queen of Irish fashion design holds court for Ireland’s most notable and seen women – but this queen is very down-to-earth. Louise Kennedy is a household name in her country and she has earned the right to be thought of as a symbol, both locally and internationally, of the talent, in the realm of design, that has come from this small green island in the Atlantic.
Ms. Kennedy’s townhouse serves as her home, office and flagship boutique – making the space very personal and one that is tended to carefully. On a recent afternoon, I took a tour of her beautiful whitewashed boutique to discover collection after collection of impressive craftsmanship and quality. On varying levels of the boutique, room after room, I witnessed shawls, sweaters, trousers, skirts, dresses, bridal gowns and accessories presented in the most beautiful way. Though most of her ready-to-wear is obviously aimed at women, the beauty and detail were instantly recognizable and appreciated.
Ms. Kennedy designs for every occasion – whether it’s a marriage or a lunch date at the Shelbourne Hotel. She rose to prominence after being commissioned to make an outfit in the early 1990s for Ireland’s first woman president, Mary Robinson. This moment in her life changed the trajectory of her career and her talent was instantly seen and recognized across the country and world. Although her list of celebrity clients runs a mile long, she designs for the every day girl who wants to look and feel her best. This is obvious.
Unfortunately, for men, there are few option to choose from – namely neck ties. But, I’m hopeful she will find a moment in her schedule to contemplate a larger offering for the male set. In the meantime, we’ll just have to make one of her beautiful shawls work the best way we know how.