Appassionata founder Ruth Monahan on slow fashion and how fashion influences floristry

  • by IMAGE

As a small business owner herself, Appassionata founder Ruth Monahan is a huge supporter of Irish boutiques and a committed advocate of slow fashion

My mother has always had a wonderful sense of style; she loves to play with colour and try out cutting edge designers. Her shoe collection is just divine, but unfortunately, she’s two sizes smaller than me.

I am lucky enough to have two of my grandmother's dresses designed by Ib Jorgensen in my wardrobe. They are so exquisitely made and detailed. She used to wear them for important events in the 1970s with her beautiful blonde hair tied up in a chignon.

I am not brand but piece-driven. My own style is a quirky take on classic shapes. I think clothes should be versatile, and I love to work separates together for day and evening. My workplace is cold so layering up in cashmere and cotton is important. I wear scarves in all seasons for this reason.


Fashion has a huge influence on floristry. The biannual couture shows use flowers in really interesting ways. They inform how clients would like us to dress their events and spaces. There is nothing more I love than seeing how fashion designers play with texture and colour within their spaces. I am so inspired by Alexandre de Betak. He designs and produces the most wonderful fashion shows all over the world and his innovation and imagination constantly make me think about how we can push our flower work further. I am also blessed to have worked with Kasia Skopinska for the past 12 years. Creating our book, Bla?thanna, was such an inspirational learning experience for both of us, and it has been a joy to journey through Irish spaces with the most brilliant florist I know.

I don't buy fast fashion; instead, I tend to gather and collect pieces through the years. I make a point of buying from Irish boutiques. They all have wonderful people with beautiful taste buying for them. Shopping, for me, is not about following trends, but rather about finding special pieces to add to those I already own.

I cherish wearing pieces each day by JW Anderson, Roksanda, Simone Rocha, Dries Van Noted and Junya Watanabe. Closer to home, I love Alison Conneely, Lucy Downes’ Sphere One and Natalie B Coleman, and for jewellery, MoMuse, Loulerie Fine Jewellery, Marni and Lulu Frost. There are so many women whose style I admire, because they dress to be themselves, but top of the list is Sarah Harris, Cate Blanchett, Nikki Creedon and Odette Rocha.

Portrait by Al Higgins. 

This article originally appeared in the December issue of IMAGE Magazine. The Volume 1 (January/February) 2020 issue of IMAGE Magazine is on sale now. 


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