Style notes: get captivated by colour and introduce a little art to your wardrobe

I love nothing more than art and fashion, so when I can partner the two, and introduce work by artists into my wardrobe, it is a win-win situation. Kate Bickmore’s florascape paintings in oils are quite something, and building on the success of a collaboration with the Karen Millen brand, the US-born, UK-based artist has returned to do a second collection with them which reimagines her original prints.

t is a limited-edition collection, and the print placement varies from piece to piece, so that adds to a sense of individuality in the artful range.


The Karen Millen X Kate Bickmore prom dress

Stars of the show include the ‘Apotheosis’ structured prom dress (€428) with pockets, and there is also a wide selection of dresses, including a cute mini with dramatic back detail.

The co-ords story is strong, including a woven blouse (€209) and matching cropped-leg palazzo pants (€259). Available in sizes 6-24, this Karen Millen X Kate Bickmore collection certainly paints a new perspective on after-dark dressing.


Blouse and cropped-leg palazzo pants


When I started to research the theme of proactively introducing art into our wardrobes as a way of uplifting those gloomy January grey skies, I certainly wasn’t expecting to be doing art myself. This unexpected moment of creativity came about thanks to an invitation from artist and printed textile designer Caroline Duffy.

I love watching the new pieces come to life on her Instagram account, and the transition from watercolour created in her home studio in Dundalk, Co Louth, to silk scarves made in Como by artisans using unique printing techniques.


A watercolour painting by Caroline Duffy

She has launched a self-care element called #floralsonfriday sessions, where you can paint along as you watch her in action on her Instagram account.

Video of the Day

The classes are for beginners and experienced artists alike, and Duffy gives you a list of what to need in terms of paints and paper.

“All you need is to be willing to have fun and not worry about the outcome,” says Duffy, who creates original paintings, prints and products, as well as collaborating with fashion and homeware brands designing textile patterns.


Caroline Duffy wearing her ‘Passionful’ scarf

For fans of her work, I thought I should mention that the latest addition to her sustainable, luxury scarf collection is the ‘Passionful’, a striking print of colourful primrose blooms and bold stripes. The 70cm x 70cm scarf in 100pc silk twill costs €135.

Homage to Harry

There’s rarely a day when you won’t find me wearing one of my two small Jennifer Rothwell silk neck scarves, and it all started with a conversation with the fashion designer in a New York skyscraper about a Harry Clarke stained-glass window in my local church in Dublin.

Rothwell’s Harry Clarke print collection was inspired by The Eve of St Agnes stained-glass panels with vibrant purples, blues, oranges and reds.


Jannifer Rothwell’s ‘Madeline’ scarf

The panels, themselves inspired by the English poet John Keats, tell the romantic story of two lovers escaping to be together on a cold, windy, stormy night, and come to life in Rothwell’s ‘Madeline’ scarf, which is my personal favourite.

The 54cm x 54cm silk square is the perfect size for a snazzy neckerchief and costs €55. Rothwell also does matching masks and more elaborate-sized scarves. While she also creates beautiful co-ords and dresses, I don’t think you can beat the simple pleasure of the comforting caress of silk across your throat and neck.

Colour therapy

It’s hard to believe it has been three years since artist and fashion designer Helen Steele launched her popular and affordable activewear collaboration with Dunnes Stores. Her pieces have been the absolute standout stars of my work-from-home wardrobe, which is why I was in like a flash when her latest collection landed in store this month.

Steele has been an outspoken advocate of the benefits of colour therapy, and this new collection was inspired by luminous stellar explosions and the vibrance of supernovae.

Dots painted over a four-week period to build up visual energy in stimulating colours feature on her puffer jacket (€30) and there’s flashes of her painterly skills on the sleeves of her four-way stretch zipped swimsuit (€25), which comes in chic khaki and also in black. I’m delighted to see that Steele has reprised her super useful longline black hoodie (€25) with its flattering side flaps.


Unisex loungewear from Dunnes Stores

In other news from Dunnes Stores, the company has launched its One Collection of unisex leisure pieces that come in a wide range of sizes. The range is aimed at adults and children aged 4-14 years.

The one-style-suits-all co-ords have an oversized fit. The four pillars of the range are a cotton-blend sweatshirt, hoodie, jog pants and a tee which come in plain cream, navy and green.

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