Instagram is full of feeds worth following, but Niamh O'Donoghue has found four Irish women who offer something that little bit special.
Instagram is changing how we see, buy, wear and react to fashion at lightning speed. It provides us with an unedited first-hand glimpse of the latest trends direct from the catwalks, and it offers us an up-close-and-personal, through-the-keyhole style insider’s view of our favourite bloggers and social media stars. But it’s not only celebrities, reality TV stars and fashion influencers with “perfect” Instagram feeds that are worth paying attention to. Here, we present four “ordinary” Irish women, with busy careers, husbands, families and friends to manage, each of whom has mastered the art of curating a fashionable, informative and inspiring feed. With a flair for creativity, style and adventure, these women give us a brief, but beautiful snippet into their very fashionable lives…
Blanaid Hennessy @blanaidhennessy
I treat my profile more as a diary than a perfectly curated feed. It’s born of a love of sharing my journey setting up Folkster (vintage boutiques in Dublin and Kilkenny). I hope to post more now that I have a new photo studio, where I can chat about how we design and buy, our future, and the excitement of the whole mad amazing fun journey that is Folkster. My workwear tends to be mostly black, while occasion wear is colour and pattern and metallics. I have very much an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to my palette. I do have some vintage coats that I love, and I collect them as I travel, while my wardrobe staple for winter is our Folkster Victoria over-the-knee boots. My sister Roisin Hennessy @alloroisin has a great feed full of colour and love. Angela Scanlon @angelascanlon is a work and style muse, Amy Huberman @amy_huberman is hilarious, Louise O’Neill @oneilllou is changing the world, and Eimear Varian Barry @eimearvarianbarry captures life beautifully. I love the old fashion finds on @thatbagisfake, while interiors inspiration comes from @zioandsons, Liz Kamarul @liz_kamarul, Louise Dockery @_paperandmoon and @jerseyicecreamco. My art loves include my husband Conor Langton @conorlangtonart, the @johnderiancompany, and Sarah K Benning @sarahkbenning, while jewellery loves include @chupi and Sofia Zakia @sofia.zakia. I’ve been very inspired travelling in California. Anyone that I’ve worked with over there has fed me so much information on how my business can grow and improve. I want Folksterto be a friendly and fun destination.
Aoife Mulvenna @aoifemulvenna
It wasn’t until I went to art school that I began to refine my personal style. It was there that I learned about artists such as Joan Miró, Matisse, El Lissitzky, Egon Schiele and Basquiat. I developed a love of constructivism that has seeped its way into my wardrobe in the form of tailoring and architectural cuts. There is a strong crossover between fashion, art, furniture design and architecture. Right now, I’m designing a lamp based on Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre in Paris. It’s led me to look at the likes of sculptor Alexander Calder, and already I can see how it’s affecting my outfit choices. I’m now opting for red geometric earrings and all black ensembles. I’ve never been one for frills or “girlish” clothes. I look up to designers Phoebe Philo and Gabriela Hearst as they balance feminine and masculine. I hope my profile offers originality and substance. I started it as an outlet for my interest in fashion, art, architecture and design. Although those interests were, and still are, the main drive, I now feel an additional responsibility to inspire and empower my followers. I want to ensure that my account is as intellectually empowering as it is visually. Posting a picture of a Marcel Breuer chair may get fewer likes than a selfie, but I get more satisfaction from knowing this post may have encouraged at least one young woman to take an interest in design and architecture. When the row finally created an Instagram account, I was over the moon! Their sources of inspiration are much like my own. Like Phoebe Philo and Gabriela Hearst, they know how to design classic, wearable pieces with a twist.
Alex Calder @caldalex
My mother has probably had the biggest influence on my style. A connoisseur of good quality fabrics, with an eagle eye for a good bargain, she has instilled in my sister and I her love of cashmere, silk shirts, chunky knits, white shirts, Levi’s, the Breton stripe, all things navy, and an excellent coat. I’ve had a longstanding love of clothes that’s rooted in uniform (I’m a history nerd). Being a horse rider, and for many years a competitor, I also love the rich legacy of equestrian style. I’ve so many clothes I love, there aren’t enough days in the year to wear them. My all-time favourite pieces are a navy DKNY coat, a white grandfather shirt that belonged to my Viennese great-grandfather (it survived war and concentration camps, although he did not), a pair of irreplaceable Reality Studio black drop-crotch trousers that I found in the closing down sale of Aisling Farinella’s ace boutique Circus, and a beautiful navy tailcoat for competitions handmade by Italian equestrian tailor Alessandro Albanese. Brands I love include Everlane, Cos, Joseph, Victoria Beckham, and & Other Stories. I hope my Instagram feed is honest, and that it celebrates the beauty of the everyday. My feed is more lifestyle than fashion, but if you love the Wicklow countryside, animals, the occasional travel series, and the odd fashion shot, then it’s for you. For charming outdoor life, I follow Emily Freda Sharp @emilyfredasharp, @_andmother and Sammantha Margaret @sfisherx and for general coolness, Dean Bradshaw @deanbradshaw and Aoife Mulvenna @aoifemulvenna
Louise Bryne @asimplestyle
My mum taught me (whether she knows it or not) that it was better to have a concise wardrobe full of quality pieces you love and wear over and over again, rather than loads of clothes that end up unworn and eventually in a black sack. She’s always invested in quality pieces that stand the test of time and doesn’t really impulse shop. I wear some of her pieces from 30 years ago, and they don’t look dated or old fashioned. I recently found a gorgeous Brian Tucker blazer from the 1970s in her attic that still looks brand new. My Instagram feed is an everyday style diary. I plan my blog post outfits, but Instagram is less considered, so hopefully it might inspire other busy women and mothers who want to look pulled together, but comfortable too. I love staples that can be worn in lots of different ways and mixed and matched easily. Since becoming a mum, my style has changed so much. These days, I invest in everyday basics, as I’m constantly running around, bending down or picking things up! I want to be comfortable without having to worry about wardrobe malfunctions. I think great outerwear makes a woman look totally pulled together, but with minimal effort. For inspiration, I love looking at images of women such as Lauren Hutton, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn and Jane Birkin. Each had her own individual style, which remains cool and relevant today. I also enjoy following bloggers Lucy Williams @lucywilliams02 and fashionmenow.co.uk; twins Desi and Nisi @desifare, @nisi and teetharejade.com; Lizzy Hadfield @shotfromthestreet, Aimee Song @songofstyle and Camille Charriere @camillecharriere and camilleovertherainbow.com.
This article originally appeared in IMAGE Magazine November 2017 Issue