It was an intimate gathering at Louise Kennedy’s flagship Merrion Square boutique for the launch of her autumn/winter 2016 collection.

The de facto doyenne of Irish design, Louise’s reputation for craftsmanship and quality has long been held in high esteem both at home and abroad with clients ranging from former president Mary MacAleese to Hollywood royalty Meryl Streep and Angelica Huston.

Styled by Catherine Condell, the 55-look showcase was an homage to nature with a strong focus on fabrics that parlay a combination of elegance, femininity, and strength.

Each story within the collection created a visual dialogue through textured floral jacquards, vibrant silks and cashmeres — a collaboration with the finest Italian weavers.

Imperial Rose indulged in the richly decorative brocade of floral themed fabrics boasting saturated hues and 3D embroidery petal details on exaggerated silhouettes.

The explosion of fuchsia buds anchored with black evoked Louise’s signature elegance, especially when combined with hair stylist Michael Leong’s top bun pom pom creations.

Pieces like the Harlow coat (€2,995) and Aubrey cape (€1,395) ticked the statement box, while the understated presence of the Mila polo (€395) demonstrated the desk-to-dinner versatility for which Louise is known.

 From left: Tabea in an Amrita floral embellished sweater (€1,295), Thalia models a Levina encrusted dress (€3,995), and Yomiko in a Samara dress with floral embroidered kimono sleeves (€1,695).
From left: Tabea in an Amrita floral embellished sweater (€1,295), Thalia models a Levina encrusted dress (€3,995), and Yomiko in a Samara dress with floral embroidered kimono sleeves (€1,695).

Oriental Garden continued the theme of floral majesty with exquisite embroidery and hand-crafted petal beadwork as standard. Inspired by Louise’s love of tradition and the Orient, outerwear continued to command attention, this time anchored with clean, contemporary lines as demonstrated by the Sakura cape (€1,695) and the Tamiko floral embroidered crepe coat (€1,395).

The Tailoring Edit celebrated the business of looking the business with smart separates that work hard but betray nothing but relaxed elegance.

“I have always loved tailoring,” says Louise. “It allows for dressing with different proportions.”

The Alaia crepe blazer (€795) with its below-the-thigh hemline and structured Paige jacket (€995) mandate for a new way of dressing — fresh yet formally informal — a testament to modern day living.

The Cocktail Hour finished the narrative with a precis of Louise’s deference to eveningwear.

Wrought with fluid jersey that draped effortlessly on the models, the segment of stand-out gowns continued the subtext of rose petal beadwork and the designer’s love of Swarovski Crystals as seen on the Gabby dress (€1,955); while the pared back ‘Gigi’ top (€595) and palazzo ‘Leonie’ trousers (€495) offered a contemporary take on ‘after 8’ attire.

Model Yomiko Chen closed the show in a black lace Victoria gown (€5,995) with a discrete fan tail that made for a fitting finale.


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