The collection’s starting point is Ireland and the Irish Wren Boys who traditionally would hunt the Wren on St Stephen’s day. They would go to people’s houses and knock on doors to sing to ask for money. The grand old houses of Ireland now in faded repairs. With peeling wallpaper prints and dusty blues, broken plates and crockery drummed like tin cans. Dancing through towns and playing instruments.
Showing in a Victorian theatre originally opened in 1875 and recently reopened and restored in Alexandra Palace, with the original faded walls and high ceilings … I want to it to feel like they are coming to knock down doors….come in and parade in a circle. Marching through in heavily lipped brogues and studded pearls.
The fabrications are inspired by the interiors of the houses the Wren Boys knocked on, translating into peeling wallpaper prints printed on silk taffeta, faded blue Delph is embroidered onto ivory tulle and printed scallops on organza patchworked into garments. Organzas are embroidered with Broderie Anglaise daisies and Mulberry berries.
Tailoring is introduced through embroidered lace taffetas and technical trench cloths. Pieces that are deconstructed, with dresses balancing masculinity and femininity. Layered like feathers, like feathers of a Wren. The fairy wren with its blue and white tail. Silk brocade suits woven like fine upholsterers and feathery light Cloqués. Dress coats and dropped frill suits, a uniformity of frills.
Hand-macramé aprons in hay and raffia worn as harness and dresses. Layered over embroidered tulle lace pieces. Ending with exaggerated shapes and portions explored within the collection.
With a cast of Irish characters including theatre actress Olwen Fouéré, Jessie Buckley, Simone Kirby, Charlene McKenna, Valene Kane and beyond with Tia Bannon and Lesley Manville….creating a cast alongside the girls and boys parading to the Wren.