Athenry couturier’s latest collection inspired by nature

Niall Tyrrell from South Park outside Ahascragh, co-designed six dresses for the Oscars.

Niall Tyrrell from South Park outside Ahascragh, co-designed six dresses for the Oscars.

An Athenry man, who worked for one of Princess Diana's favourite designers, has launched his latest collection.

Niall Tyrrell, a fashion designer based in Dublin who is originlly from Ahascragh - the home of the famous milliner Philip Treacy - spent his summers while still at college working with the former couturier Victor Edelstein at his London studio. He recalls spending many hours hand finishing the late princess' pieces in addition to working on outfits commissioned by Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue who has been described as the most influential woman in fashion.

As a child he says he knew he would pursue an artistic career. "Straight after my Leaving Cert I spend a year in GMIT on a foundation art and design course. I knew the minute I started to work with textiles that I wanted to pursue a career in fashion. I went on to study a degree in fashion design at the National college of Art and Design in Dublin.

"When I graduated I returned to work in London again before heading to work in Paris for almost three years where I spent time working at Rochas with Peter O' Brien and at Balmain with Oscar de la Renta who was designing the couture collection there at the time."

He returned to Ireland in the mid-nineties to set up Tyrrell and Brennan with fellow designer Donald Brennan. Having trained in the couture houses of London and Paris, his experience as a skilled draughtsman, tailor and designer has culminated in his being commissioned to design for several Oscar, Golden Globes and Grammy nominees, where his work has graced the red carpet. His collaborative work has also been worn by two female presidents, actresses, politicians, film and TV personalities.

"During this time we designed six Oscar dresses which graced the red carpet in LA for the Oscars worn by Irish nominees such as Enya and producers such as Kirsten Sheridan. However, we have dressed women from all walks of life including the two female presidents and Grammy nominated Irish artists as well as the loyal clientele who still support me to this day who know we help take the pain out of shopping for the special occasion."

Almost three years ago Donald Brennan left the company due to a family illness and Niall has continued the label under his own name since. Over the years he has built a solid reputation for exquisitely designed and crafted garments. Using luxurious fabrics and clean line silhouettes, his collections display great attention to detail and skill in dressing the female form.

His current collection, which he sells on a made-to-order appointment basis from his studio in Dublin, was inspired by an Art Nouveau exhibition he saw in Paris last year.

"The Art Nouveau style is quite organic and is primarily inspired by nature. I suppose growing up on a farm and being so close to nature as a child has remained one of my greatest influences. The influences of the Art Nouveau movement are expressed in the details of the collection by the use of flowing style lines and asymmetric details. These are softly tailored and crafted into dresses, separates and jackets which are executed with the use of luxury fabrics of silks, laces and textured jacquards. An inspired use of a soft colour palette such as sky blues, eau-de-nil, creams and blush pinks are contrasted with strong colours such as teal, cobalt blues, magenta and black. Signature embellishment details such as hand appliqué lace, contrasting topstitching and draping details are combined for a subtle yet dramatic affect."

The dress is the focal point of the collection and shapes and silhouettes include softly tailored A-line styles, semi fitted shift forms and easy casual tunic styles. These are designed for special and relaxed occasions. Also included in the collection are a range of "9 to 9" dresses, for working women who often have to attend post work functions and require a crossover dress which eliminates the need to change into a second outfit.

"Because I offer a choice of shapes, silhouettes, a great range of colours and fabrics on a made to order basis, I regularly solve the shopping dilemma of 'there is nothing in the shops' for many women for all occasions.

"Although I operate on a bespoke made-to-order basis from our studio and showroom in Dublin, we also offer a small range of ready-to-wear items. One needs to make an appointment as that’s how we operate, almost like personal shopping."

Niall Tyrrell's latest collection is available to buy from his showroom between Rathmines and Ranelagh in Dublin 6. His dresses cost from €800, jackets are from €950, skirts are priced from €395 and tops cost from €295.

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