Meet the Smart Casual hosts: Fashion Director Marie Kelly

I's no secret that we're a big fan of podcasts here at IMAGE. From our biweekly wine chats with Sophie and Rhona on The Spill,to our monthly PodClubs, when podcasts are involved, we're all ears. We wanted to find a way to blend our love of podcasting with IMAGE's extensive history in style and fashion. And what we came up with was Smart Casual - IMAGE's first fashion podcast, in collaboration with Kildare Village, dealing with personal style in a way that speaks to you.

Ahead of launching IMAGE's first ever fashion podcast– hosted by Digital Editor Dominique McMullan, Fashion Director Marie Kelly and Digital Leader Niamh O'Donoghue – we want you to get to know the faces behind the voices. Our hosts each have their own unique perspectives and opinions on personal style, fashion movements and how fashion affects us. 

Our final host is IMAGE Fashion Director Marie Kelly

What does fashion mean to you?
I'm a naturally shy individual; very much an introvert. Fashion has always helped me to present myself to the world in a confident and competent manner, regardless of how I may be feeling inside. Every day, the clothes I wear help me to deal with any number of situations and challenges. Clothes are very much my armour.
 What is your first fashion memory?
One of my earliest fashion memories is arriving home from school (I was probably only about five years old) and finding a pair of shoes I had seen in a store the day before and loved waiting for me. I vividly remember how my eyes popped when I saw them and the smile on my mother's face as she clocked my excitement. They had a cork sole, a T-bar and they were burgundy... still my favourite colour today.
 How would you describe your personal style?
It's a little bit boyish - I like tailoring, pockets and oversized knits - although in the past year I've developed a love of midi skirts. I'm quite minimal. I wear prints only occasionally and tend to stick to block colours. In two words, I guess I'd describe it as chic and unfussy.
 Who is your biggest Irish style icon?
Artist Alice Maher is certainly one of them. She's got great hair, and she personifies ageless style. I also think stylist Cathy O'Connor always looks incredible.
 What do you think is the biggest issue facing fashion today?
I was disappointed to see the return of so many bold logos on the catwalks this season and last because I think it encourages a "buy now, don't bother with it later" approach to fashion. Women inevitably get tired of these kinds of "of-the-moment" pieces. Giant branding and IT pieces don't promote a lifetime of use, which is what we should all be looking for from the items we buy.
 What are your top three AW18 must-haves?
A pair of burgundy leather knee-high boots, a butter-soft leather skirt and plenty of oversized cardigans (some of which I'll knit myself!).
 What are your must-see collections in upcoming fashion weeks?
Sacai, Victoria Beckham, Eudon Choi and JW Anderson.
 What are you most excited about in launching the Smart Casual podcast?
I'm looking forward to inviting and encouraging a conversation about fashion that's accessible and interests all women. You don't have to be interested in the business of fashion or the industry itself to enjoy Smart Casual. We want to discuss fashion and clothes as they relate to women in their everyday lives. We want Smart Casual to be a podcast that all women can enjoy, and begin discussions that listeners can, and will want to, carry on among themselves.
 What can we expect from you as a host of Smart Casual?
As I'm the oldest of the three hosts (43 almost 44!), I'll bring the perspective of a woman whose tried every trend in her 20s, shopped till she dropped through her 30s and has now found a personal style she's happy with and a life that has better balance (it's not all about fashion for me anymore!).

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