Brown Thomas Launches CREATE 2016

Showcasing the best in Irish design

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Words by Síomha Connolly & Nicole Thomsen
July 6th, 2016

Brown Thomas CREATE 2016 is a showcase celebrating the best of new Irish design. Now in its sixth year running, the installation is a fantastic way for upcoming Irish designers to gain recognition. A six week installation starting from Tuesday 5th July, CREATE will be housed on Level 1 in Brown Thomas, Grafton Street. Featuring the work of 19 talented designers from ready to wear, accessories, millinery, footwear and jewellery. The designers chosen will gain commercial experience by enjoying this six week display in Brown Thomas as well as some invaluable guidance and advice from Shelly Corkery and the rest of the Brown Thomas management team. The main theme of CREATE 2016 is sustainability.

One standout young designer is Aideen Gaynor, a recent NCAD graduate who won the BrownThomas bursary award this year. Aideen’s collection ‘Hard Boiled Wonderland’ consists of voluminous, free falling pieces that are layered atop of one another. Gaynor’s work has notable Japanese influences, and the stiff fabrics somehow still allow for a graceful ebb and flow effect. Fabrics of quilted black silk, satin and neoprene feature throughout giving the collection a certain uniformity allowing the pieces to be worn interchangeably. Her handprinted and handstitched floral embellished pieces, including a gorgeous pair of culottes and matching jacket, are extremely impressive. One coat was composed of fourteen metres of printed fabric. Gaynor is certainly one to watch, as she will be taking her designs to Milan this September where she will take part in the Mittelmoda competition.

Aideen Gaynor
Richard Malone

Richard Malone also caught our eye at yesterday morning’s showcase. Malone has been the Irish name on everyone’s lips for some time now since winning the well coveted LVMH Grand Prix Scholarship while completing his final year in Central Saint Martins in 2014. With a focus on recycled materials, fresh stripes and 1980s asymmetry Malone’s collection is certainly impressive. The pieces on show at CREATE are part of his Autumn/Winter collection but we can envision them being worn somewhere sunny, perhaps somewhere along the French or Italian Riviera. The nautical blue and white stripes and the towling fabric only add to this. Sticking with the overall theme of sustainability at this year’s CREATE, all of Malone’s materials are sustainably sourced and made in-house in his studio in Wexford.

Standing out in the crowd of new talent is Mary Gregory. The award-winning designer launched her label in 1984 and is one of Ireland’s most innovative designers. But this is not the first time Gregory has found her collection in store. In 2001, Mary Gregory first landed in the heart of Brown Thomas with her romantic yet modern designs appealing to the masses. Today, Mary Gregory’s comeback collection, her first in 13 years, remains as conceptual as it was over a decade ago with her attention to detail as sharp as ever. Featuring modern cuts and silhouettes that are both fluid and architectural, Mary’s Autumn/Winter collection consists of an array of wardrobe must-haves including the softest knitwear and a grey mohair coat that will star on many wishlists this coming season.

Mary Gregory
Giovanna Borza

Also making a second appearance is Giovanna Borza. The young Irish designer featured in the CREATE 2015 exhibition a mere year after she launched her eponymous line in 2014 to much applaud.
Starring in her Autumn/Winter collection are the well-known and well sought after Mongolian scarfs, this time in an autumnal palette of burgundy, grey, and yellow which sit side by side with the most decadent gilets you could only dream of hanging in your wardrobe. For those fond of oversized, luxurious silhouettes this collection is one to bookmark.

Giovanna finds herself in excellent company for the next 6 weeks as she sits alongside some of the best Irish design talent of recent years including Jill de Burca, Margaret O’Connor and Úna Burke as well as Aideen Gaynor, Richard Malone, and Mary Gregory among others. Regardless of whether you go to buy, browse or be inspired, CREATE 2016 is well worth a visit over the coming month.