Ir­ish so­phis­ti­ca­tion


‘Fash­ion is very per­sonal. For me, it is about look­ing your best, and that comes from be­ing dressed in what suits you best,” de­signer Caro­line Kilkenny states.

The Caro­line Kilkenny la­bel is one I have long ad­mired. Right from the first, Caro­line told me that she was de­sign­ing for adult women and wasn’t com­pet­ing in the youth mar­ket, or with la­bels that sold youth to older women.

“Caro­line Kilkenny is a thirty-plus la­bel. My cus­tomers are work­ing women, ca­reer women, who like to look good, but they don’t live for their ap­pear­ance. When I start cre­at­ing a col­lec­tion, I think about what I like to wear and how I like to look and that hov­ers over all that I make,” she says.

Caro­line Kilkenny for au­tumn 2014 is a one-stop shop for the woman who likes to dress to her strengths and her sex. The col­lec­tion is one of the most com­pet­i­tively priced in the mar­ket for a de­signer range. This sea­son, there is a de­cid­edly chic, Parisian vibe to her col­lec­tion, with its sen­sual sim­plic­ity and clean styling. El­e­gant coats, sen­su­ous blouses, cig­a­rette trousers, skirts with vents, strik­ing dresses for day and even­ing, to play­ful pieces in prints, and vary­ing hem lengths.

“This au­tumn, tai­lor­ing is having a big in­flu­ence. That leads to an at­trac­tive so­phis­ti­ca­tion,” Caro­line says. Peo­ple can re­act ad­versely to the word so­phis­ti­ca­tion, I say, to which Caro­line re­sponds, “I don’t like to think of so­phis­ti­ca­tion as be­ing overly done, overtly glam­orous. I think peo­ple get tired just think­ing about it when it means that. For me, so­phis­ti­ca­tion is dress­ing to suit, to feel com­fort­able and to look well.

“You can see that across all the pieces in my col­lec­tion — from sep­a­rates to coats to dresses. It is about look­ing well, but also like your­self. When I start de­sign­ing au­tumn, I always ref­er­ence pre­vi­ous col­lec­tions, be­cause I know there are things my cus­tomer always needs and likes, and also that it can be in­te­grated more eas­ily,” she says.

Though Caro­line has a rep­u­ta­tion for dresses, I have always loved her sep­a­rates and coats, es­pe­cially her blouses, tops and skirts. This sea­son, sep­a­rates are king.

“I be­lieve sep­a­rates al­low a per­son more con­trol over how they look and feel in their clothes. Some peo­ple look bet­ter in sep­a­rates. For dresses, I feel you need to be per­fectly pro­por­tioned. But quite a few women are, say, size 12 on top and maybe two sizes big­ger on the bot­tom, and that doesn’t work in dresses.”

As her col­lec­tions are always rooted in flat­ter­ing the body and your life­style, not just fash­ion’s fads, I find Caro­line Kilkenny’s pieces don’t date. And, as the fab­rics are always ex­cel­lent, they last. Caro­line’s love of colour, fem­i­nin­ity and play, mean you will always reach for them to sup­port you as you head out to meet your day — and con­quer it.

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