The designers - Jan Joe Gino Dubria, Stiofan Dennehy, Blathnaid McClean and Jennifer Young - each had distinct aesthetics which were complemented by the artisinal training that they had received. In fact craft, workmanship and in-depth knowledge were the motivators in establishing the course in 2013. The Academy wants to preserve the craft and art of tailoring for future generations and to pursue enduring excellence in the area in Ireland.
Mr Dubria's collection, "The Classic Sprezzatura", immediately caught my attention with the name. Sprezzatura is something I was familiar with from the study of Italian Renaissance art and literature. It is an attitude, a way of dressing, an etiquette and way of life that is gentlemanly, nonchalant and easy. The embodiment of this idea saw pieces that were classics, timeless but not stuffy or old-fashioned. Meticulous construction and attention-to-detail, linen, pattern in restrained palettes. And a little boy modelling the second look that melted the audience's collective heart.
Dennehy's collection was strikingly different to the others. Bright colour, unexpected lengths, pattern and boldness that made something very exciting. New, fresh - the future of where suiting might go. Yet, while the aesthetic was looking forward, the technique and craft involved was utterly aware of its past and paid due respect to that. I could utterly and completely see myself wearing some of the pieces. And I do love a good sit up moment during a show.
McClean's "Sartoria" looked to Italy as a source of inspiration, using the Italian word for tailoring as its title. The pieces used strong and bold colour choices but paired it with impeccable craftsmanship and wonderful cuts to create pieces that anyone could immediately place in their wardrobe. These are wearable, wantable looks that could grace the best of establishments and sell. They complement the form and exude easy style.
Jennifer Young won the Excellence in Craftsmanship award for her collection, "The Serenade". Offering stunning bridal looks which wowed the crowd and made a lasting impression, sweeping purposefully and elegantly down the runway, she secured her place as the winner of this year's award. However, much as the grand gowns delighted, it was the Mother of the Bride look that impressed me most. The very phrase evokes a certain level of scepticism and wariness in myself but I was utterly and pleasantly surprised by Young's solution. An over-long blazer in a loose, but form-enhancing fit, over chic and breezily elegant garments - flattering, wearable but cool too. In fact, I'd totally rock it myself!
Apologies for the photos not being up to my usual standards - catwalk shots are hard! Plus, when I was getting images at the end, there was lots of others doing the same and several crews filming for television so it was rather chaotic! However, I think you get a great sense of what was being shown - after just a year! Congrats to all the designers, I was majorly impressed. And good luck to the part-timers with a bit yet to go. Thank you to Sinead Doyle, the course director, for inviting me and being so helpful - you should be very proud of what you're doing!
Anyone interested in the course should check out their site here.
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