Irish design is enjoying a big buzz this year with the designated Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) promoting our crafters and makers on an unprecedented and very much welcomed scale. The latest must-visit event on our design calendar is the Side by Side exhibition in Kilkenny’s stunning National Craft Gallery.
Creatives such as Úna Burke and Angela O’Kelly will be showcasing their leatherwork and jewellery respectively, alongside 20 other Irish makers. All were selected on the basis of their international acclaim. It’s pretty empowering stuff for citizens of an island on the edge of Europe.
Our chosen jewels in the crown have to be Helen Cody’s two gowns. When we say we have a crazy career crush on Cody, we’re actually downplaying the sincere love we feel for her creations. Cody is Ireland’s go-to for bespoke couture pieces. Her atelier only releases the best and plays with hand-dyed silk linings, Victorian embellishments, vintage ribbons and crystals. She employs antique Irish and European handmade lace into some of her pieces and utilises techniques such as hand cutting, burning, beading, hand dying and machining in her work. It’s a dizzying list of ingredients, but entirely fitting when you consider Cody began her career in nineties Paris, double-jobbing with French Vogue and Azzedine Alaia.
The multi-blossom two-piece, above, is composed of hand cut petal shapes which were later embellished and beaded before being attached to the base.
The laser cut shift dress is made up of taffeta laser cut into disc shapes and applied to a tulle base. The impeccable hand stitching creates a seamless effect that promises to be pretty wow up close.
Side by Side runs at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny until Tuesday, 28th April. From there it will tour to the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris from 12th June to 12th July 2015 and to the ID2015 Design Hub at the Coach House in Dublin Castle in November 2015.
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun