Carolyn Donnelly, of Quin and Donnelly fame, began her career in fashion at the Grafton Academy in Dublin. After graduation she set up her fashion label with her classmate Liz Quin.
Over the years, the label became the biggest selling Irish designer label in Ireland and was stocked in Brown Thomas in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway, in Harrods in London, in House of Fraser branches across the UK, in Bloomingdales in New York and Macy’s in San Francisco, among many other selected outlets at home and abroad.
Quin and Donnelly won the Late Late Show Designer of the Year Award twice.
After 30 successful years in fashion, Carolyn is now regarded as one of the country’s most talented and experienced designers. She has recently been appointed creative director of Dunnes Stores, marking the beginning of a new design-led era for the group.
She will be overseeing design across women’s wear, leading a team of new designers in the branded labels within the store group.
Go for gold this month — a few styles from the new Savida Gold collection have sneaked into Dunnes Stores already but the full collection should land from this Monday.
Creative director at Dunnes Stores, Carolyn Donnelly is already a household name, from her time at the award-winning Quin and Donnelly and, of course, her highly popular homewares range at Dunnes.
“The Gold collection is a limited selection of top end pieces in luxurious fabrics at very reasonable prices,” the Tullamore lady tells us.
She reckons people presume that the clothes in the Savida collection are produced in enormous quantities.
“They love the styles but think that there is a huge chance that they will see hundreds of the same dress walking around and don’t want to risk that.”
But Donnelly emphasises that there are only limited quantities of the best styles, that the range is constantly changing, and if you are not quick you’ll miss the key pieces and they won’t be repeated.
The collection featured here has been produced in Italy and includes lace, leather, embroidery, jewelled embellishment and intricate beading.
Donnelly’s favourite pieces include the leather styles — pinafore dresses and pencil skirts — “very tight but comfortable stretch leather pants and a fabulous leather zip jacket with an unusual pleated detail around the hem”.
All styles are available in black.
“Heavy black lace dresses are perfect for the Christmas season, as is a special black quilted dress with black beading all over and a crisp white beaded collar; a true occasion dress,” explains the designer.
Other dresses include all over beaded styles in black and gold and a lace dress with a deep hem of rich green statement peacock feathers. The collection also includes evening tops in taffeta and lace and others with distinctive embellishment.
A stand out for Donnelly is the evening coat.
“One particularly stunning coat is leather trimmed and made from an unusual cut organza cloth. It looks much more expensive than its €150 price point.”