Ltd Ed 300
20cm x 200cm (approx)
Crepe de Chine with a handrolled edge
The story of ‘The Oscar’ is one of two parts, spanning the centuries & celebrating the remarkable creative talent of this island. We begin in the 19th century with some of Ireland’s most celebrated writers..
The Merrion print is inspired by the beautiful Georgian Squares of Dublin and the iconic writers who lived there..Yeats, Wilde, Sheridan Le Fanu and Stoker. These writers had a great interest in the occult and the gothic side of life…The Golden Dawn, Ouija boards, vampires, spirits. That got me thinking about the magic and secrets contained behind those brightly coloured doors..what would happen if it ever seeped out? If the majestic brass lion, the door knocker…proudly announcing and observing everyone who entered the elegant residence year upon year..became enchanted? Came to life? He would appear on the doorstep, shake out his lustrous, sparkling mane and and observe his surroundings from this new vista. He would prowl around the square, admiring the jewel-coloured doors, the shiny black fleur-de-lys topped railings..he would roam through the tall trees in St Stephen’s Green, through the arch and onto Grafton Street, where he passes the buskers and flower sellers and bustling shoppers, too busy going about their business to notice him. He reaches a beautiful store, bathed in a twinkling golden glow. The windows boast exquisite displays, drawing admiring glances from everyone who passes. He sees two small blonde girls in matching coats standing with their grandmother..they don’t notice him..one is transfixed by the beautiful merchandise, the other too busy chatting. Over the door.. ‘It’s Showtime’ and above that the name..Brown Thomas. He wanders in..the doorman tips his tophat..there’s not much he doesn’t notice. It’s beautiful..he could make himself at home here amongst the gorgeous silks, the sumptuous velvets, the beautifully crafted shoes, the sparkling diamonds and opulent pearls. And make himself at home he did, George the lion & the Merrion print launched in Brown Thomas back in Christmas 2018.
Fast forward to early 2023, I received a call from an old pal, Mary Ellen O’Hara. Her husband had starred in a short film, ‘An Irish Goodbye’ that had been nominated for a BAFTA, an IFTA & an Oscar. Seamus is also from the north coast & they were passionate about representing that & Irish fashion on the red carpet throughout the awards season. We threw some ideas around, had a quick meeting in Belfast where the silk flew & they were sorted for London & the BAFTAs with the Children of Lir collection. They won the BAFTA. Next came the Oscars planning, Mary Ellen came to visit, we ate cake, drank coffee, she tried on silk & linen. There was gonna be parties as well as the Oscars ceremony & I packed up various options for her & Seamus. Once they were in LA I received daily photos, they were draped in silk, sharing the garments, shimmering under the LA moonlight. Mary Ellen fittingly wore the Merrion kimono to the Oscar Wilde awards, whilst Seamus wore the wrap. I was so proud of them for representing Irish fashion so purposefully & beautifully.
It was either the late the night before or the morning of the Oscars that I received a message… Ross White, one of the directors, was quite taken with the Éadach pieces Mary Ellen & Seamus had been swanning about in & wondered was there any way he could access pieces for the Oscars. Now I do have a wonderful retailer in LA, Coyne on Sunset (just moments from their hotel) but I knew there was nothing suitable. I suggested he chat to Mary Ellen & Seamus and see if any of the bits they’d brought would work. I wondered about it for the rest of the day, hoping they could work something out. That evening I received a photo from Ross, looking resplendent in his black tuxedo, with flashes of deep red silk under his jacket. He’d taken the belt from the Merrion kimono and fashioned it into a scarf, complimented by the red Valentine pocket square. Seamus was also sporting Valentine pieces & Mary Ellen Children of Lir. I was thrilled & sent Ross a message wishing him the best of luck and ‘When you win don’t cover the silk with the little gold man’.
Late that night I settled down on the sofa to watch the Oscars & promptly fell asleep. I woke up to messages from my pal Bairbre (the fashion ed of the Indo, who had stayed awake to write a piece for the morning paper) telling me she was dancing around the room. They’d won the Oscar. I asked her was the silk visible (priorities), which it was. I trawled Twitter & Getty looking for imagery & went to sleep happy. I woke up to a wonderful piece in the Indo, including my ‘don’t cover the silk’ instructions to Ross! A few weeks later George the Lion attended the IFTAs, both Seamus & Mary Ellen in matching green kimonos. We then raffled the Oscars pieces & raised £10,000 for Women’s Aid NI. Keeping all that good energy going.
So in homage to the success of An Irish Goodbye & George the lion’s adventures I created this scarf based on the kimono belt. Of course it is named The Oscar, for one of the iconic writers who inspired the original print & one of the awards brought home by our wonderful contemporary talent. A celebration of Irish creativity across the centuries.
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