Six of Ireland’s leading contemporary fashion designers are being honoured by An Post today, with the national release of a series of six fashion stamps. The six designers are:
Paul Costelloe | Louise Kennedy | Lainey Keogh | Orla Kiely | John Rocha | Philip Treacy
These award-winning designers were selected on the basis that they have their own label and a successful Irish and international career.
The stamps are set to be the ideal accessory for the fashionista letter writer this summer, bringing an instant impression of style and glamour to letters, cards, invitations and thank you notes.
The six stamps, three at 55c and three at 82c were designed by Irish graphic artist Ger Garland and show current or recent work from each designer. The stamps, together with a handbag-size booklet containing three of each of the six stamps (€12.33) are available while stocks last from www.irishstamps.ie; the GPO Dublin and main Post Offices.
Fashion is consistently the most popular category for visitors to An Post's own online shopping directory at www.anpost.ie/onlineshopping with more than 70 per cent of browsers and shoppers searching out the latest styles in Irish and international labels.
In a specially commissioned essay about these beautiful new stamps, writer Deirdre McQuillan says: “John Rocha, Philip Treacy, Orla Kiely, Paul Costelloe, Louise Kennedy and Lainey Keogh are part of a generation that was inspired by the meteoric success of fashion designer Sybil Connolly in the 1950s who… conquered the international fashion world.
Many of the chosen designers have pushed hard the boundaries of their craft like Philip Treacy with his flamboyant, inventive millinery or Lainey Keogh with her imaginative exploration of the possibilities of knit and crochet. John Rocha has always embraced native handcrafts and fabrics in a distinctive way and like Louise Kennedy has shown his skill with crystal and interior design. Paul Costelloe’s reach has extended from fashion and landmark sporting and airline uniforms into home ware, jewellery and optics. In terms of commercial success, Orla Kiely’s signature has gone beyond bags and clothing into lifestyle design and even fragrance and her collaboration with Citroën will mark a first for an Irish fashion designer in the automobile industry.”
BACKGROUND ON DESIGNERS
Born in Hong Kong of Chinese and Portuguese descent, John Rocha moved to London in the 1970s to study fashion. Using Irish linen in his graduate collection he was inspired to visit Ireland, eventually moving to Dublin in the 1980s, where he has lived for almost thirty years, working closely with his
wife, muse and business partner, Odette. John has developed and refined his own distinctive style, constantly experimenting with fabric, silhouette and technique. His beautifully worked embellishments, hand knits, crochet and hand painted fabrics give a truly special and eclectic appeal to his collections.
He was named Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 1993, and received the CBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, in recognition of his contribution to the fashion industry. Together with fashion, John has expanded his design portfolio to work in such diverse media as crystal, jewellery, architecture and interiors, working on both public and private spaces in Ireland, the UK, France and Hungary. In 2007, he opened his own flagship store on Dover Street, Mayfair, London.
From Ahascragh, County Galway, Philip Treacy started sewing at the age of seven and is a graduate of the National College of Art & Design, Dublin and the Royal College of Art in London. Five times winner of the
British Accessories Designer of the Year award, his hats have crowned the heads of British Royalty, rock stars and celebrities including his champion, the late stylist Isabella Blow. He has designed millinery for the late Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Valentino among others and in 2007 was awarded an OBE for his services to the British fashion industry, which was presented by Prince Charles. He was design director of the G Hotel in Galway and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland
in 2006. His travelling exhibition of hats “When Philip Met Isabella” drew record crowds in Dublin at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks.
Born in Dublin, Orla Kiely graduated from the National College of Art & Design, Dublin, and then in 1993, with a Master’s Degree after studying at London’s Royal College of Art. She later set up a partnership with her husband, Dermott Rowan, showing at London Fashion Week where she secured her first export orders. In 2005, she was awarded the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year and named one of HBOS 100 Most Entrepreneurial Women in 2008. Her industry consultations include designing ceramics/wallpaper for Habitat, sitting on the Dulux Design Council, designing capsule collections for the Tate Gallery and collaborating with Target in the USA. She has won four UK Fashion Export awards. Her London shop and showroom opened in September 2005. She is a Visiting Professor for Textiles at the Royal College of Art since 2007 and currently lives in London with her husband and two sons.
Born in Dublin, the youngest of a family of seven to an Irish father and American mother, Paul Costelloe was educated at Blackrock College, Dublin and trained as a fashion designer in Paris, Milan and New York. He set up his own fashion label in 1979 and expanded into the UK in the early l990s, where one of his most high-profile clients was the late Princess Diana. He is now stocked extensively in the UK and is an established name at London Fashion Week. Known for casual sporty tailoring and a vibrant sense of colour, he has also designed uniforms, menswear, homewares, jewellery and an optical collection. Married with seven children, he now lives in London.
From Thurles in County Tipperary, where her family ran a drapers shop, Louise Kennedy studied fashion at the Grafton Academy in Dublin and set up her own business in 1982. Known for streamlined, restrained
tailoring in luxurious fabrics, she dressed former President Mary Robinson for her inauguration. Louise designed the uniforms for Aer Lingus in 1997 and in 1998 moved to her flagship headquarters at 56 Merrion Square, Dublin, a Georgian building which is now her home, studio and showroom. In recent
years, she has designed interiors, ranges of contemporary glass for Tipperary Crystal and opened a flagship store in London. The recipient of many awards including Irish Fashion Designer of the Year on four occasions, she was Veuve Cliquot Businesswoman of the Year in 2004. Her client list includes President Mary McAleese, SarahFerguson, Angelica Huston, Yasmin Le Bon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Enya, Jo Malone and Andie McDowell.
One of ten children of a market gardener in north Dublin, Lainey Keogh started knitting for friends in the 1980s while still a student of microbiology. An opportunity to work with designer Michael Mortell marked
the start of her career in fashion. In 1989, she won the Prix de Coeur in Monte Carlo from Christian Lacroix, which brought her international recognition and buyers from London, Paris and New York. Her debut show in London working with the late Isabella Blow, Sophie Dahl, Kate Moss, Marianne Faithful,
John Hurt and Naomi Campbell led to huge acclaim and offers to design costumes for movies and dress celebrities. Since then she has travelled the world showing her Irish made collections and has designed showpieces for Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Christian Louboutin. Her home and studio are based in County Wicklow.