Last Thursday I was delighted to attend Om Diva‘s first fashion launch of the new year: the event was set to stand out from the plethora of über-fashionable evenings hosted by this treasured boutique in the past, a good number of which I’ve been fortunate enough to attend and wholly experience the spellbinding magic cast over any fashionista who walks through the pink entrance (you can feast yourselves on previous reports of Om Diva & Atelier 27′s twilight events “here”). With featured designers and fashion artists joining in a countdown to the night, and renowned publications broadcasting the launch in anticipation to inform their well-dressed readers (the Irish edition of the Sunday Times Style magazine wrote a mini feature in its Fashion News segment), it would be quite accurate to say I was filled with mirth at having received an invitation.
The window display made a diverse change from the usually-vibrant garments showcased – the clothes, in muted shades of cream, white and slate grey, had full emphasis on the cut and contrasting textures of each item, all backed by fringed, shimmering curtains. We were offered a glass of energizing prosecco upon arrival, and wasted no time in climbing the twinkly-lit stairs to the main feature of the night, despite having passed some thought-provoking creations (more on that later).
The evening promised to display exciting new pieces of art and fashion hand in hand, but what made the concept all the more intriguing was that we were given access to the studios of Atelier 27′s collective designers – getting a proper glimpse of their budding collections, inspiration boards and so forth. Each mini private atelier was entirely different on its own, as evidenced by the first studio I visited shown just below, where Australian designer Sophie Richardson and Atelier 27 newcomers Ciara Murphy and Alison Conneely were seen chatting amicably to fashionistas, each one visibly taken by the rails of stunning, sophisticated clothes on view (I particularly loved the elegant use of white fur embellishment):
After leaving the first showroom – which had, I might add, a wonderful European/Parisian vibe to the room’s ambience – I made my way down to the next, situated on the same level as Atelier 27. The studio belonged to Sean Byrne, an award-winning designer known for his immaculate finish and tailoring (he produces both ready-to-wear and couture garments) – and the small yet surprisingly uncluttered design space showed signs of a creative force at work:
Vibrant collages and elegant sketches graced the walls, just above a table workspace covered with luxurious fuchsia velvet (pink and black are to be the principal shades of his upcoming collection, so it seems) and iconic copies of Vogue. His is a clear example of how one doesn’t need an abundance of space to have a prolific work ethic, providing that the area is used well – two large windows frame the room and give a brilliant view to the streets below, offering a great percentage of light for the place to absorb.
One of my favourite pieces from his displayed collection, an LBD with a twist – playing with texture and keeping a flattering cut to an item of clothing is one of my favourite ways of seeing elegant designers experiment, and Sean Byrne is no exception. His garments are also stocked in the Design Centre (Powerscourt Townhouse Centre) for those interested in making a staple purchase; you can check out his stream-lined website for more info “here”.
Last but certainly not least, the third and final studio I walked through was home to knitwear designer Heather Finn’s creations (if the name sounds familiar, but not from Om Diva, you’ve probably spotted her work in the Loft Market down the road) – and despite being appreciative of the elegance and modernity found in the collections I’ve shown above, I’m a self-confessed colour fiend and, walking into Heather’s vivid workspace, my senses really livened up at the display of such vibrancy!
The inspiration boards found in this studio – tucked away at the top of a separate staircase – are enticing enough to make even the most staunch of colour-phobes gape in wonder. The whole room was filled with varying shades, from the vintage knitwear patterns lining one wall to the inspiration collages and rolls of thread in every shade. There was also a handful of monochromatic pieces on display that looked pleasing to the eye, but I was sold on the experimental brights the moment I laid eyes on them; my favourite item being just directly above, a turquoise number with crochet lace and knit flower embellishment. What I found the most intriguing was how Heather manages to venture into the world of knitwear and wool and turn the same (sometimes perceived to be singular-functional and occasionally bulky) fabric into clothes that look as flattering as if they were made with flowing silk. It’s showing a mastery of the art and ability to push boundaries, and with Ireland’s history associated with yarn, felt and knits, I can see Heather being one of the pioneers in giving the craft a modern, internationally-appealing spin. You can source more info through Heather Finn’s Facebook page and website “here” and “here” respectively.
While I was making my way to each individual studio, I stumbled across some gorgeous, unique items – such as new jewellery from De Loup‘s latest collection and innovative black maxis by talented fashion student Micheal Finnegan – but what caught my eye well and truly was this one-of-a-kind monster necklace, complete with dangly wooden legs, furry beard and glow-in-the-dark eyes! The piece was hand-created by emerging designer Morganna Murphy, who turned up at the event sporting the most amazing Chanel-esque sequinned eyebrows, and actually managed to pull them off brilliantly and nonchalantly; certainly no mean feat! You can check out her other quirky items and illustrations “here”.
As journalist Alanna Gallagher spoke to the growing crowd and the evening gradually drew to a close, I was unfortunately unable to take close-up shots of certain, non-studio collections and art pieces – simply due to the almost overwhelming amount of people that had shown up to browse the boutique! However, I’m planning to re-visit the three-floor shop at a quieter hour to properly drink in all new arrivals. If you live near the capital or are planning a stay there in the near future, be sure to pop into Om Diva and take a look around: the spell that each collection (and Diva assistant) is bound to weave on you will soon have you bookmarking the store as one of your old haunts.