Alice Halliday doesn’t merely create clothes. She magicks ethereal worlds in which her consumers – bohemian souls with a desire to dress both sustainably and romantically – comfortably reside, swathed in reclaimed antique lace and gossamer silks.
I stumbled upon Halliday’s joyous craftsmanship (which stretches from bespoke commissions to ready-to-wear collections) on one of my first trips to Atelier 27, an Aladdin’s Cave of glistening Irish Design on Om Diva’s top floor. Her diaphanous dresses and voluminous flower crowns – once-offs crafted with a couturier’s touch – left me instantly smitten. It later came as little surprise to hear her studio was situated in West Cork, whose verdant coastlines are peppered with fairy circles and mystic spirits. Such charming surrounds have woven their way through each collection thus far, captivating the likes of Florence Welch years before the New York Times came knocking.
Those seeking an edgier spin on ethereal threads will relish Halliday’s latest offering, ‘Edge of Nineteen’: composed of “luxury, lifetime garments” that meld contemporary silhouettes with seasonless appeal, Halliday is partially influenced by the origins of power dressing and imbues her signature, celestial style with a shot of boldness.
What’s interesting to note is how, rather than seek to emulate power dressing’s original trope (as coined by John T. Molloy in his 1975 tome Dress for Success) of women dressing like men to obtain power and respect in the workplace, Halliday proves that garnering strength through one’s clothes doesn’t mean relinquishing femininity; if anything, it’s the complete opposite.
While Halliday’s collection shoots never cease to spellbind, I am especially fond of this latest lookbook: kicking and twirling across the frames, the model is never static, doing serious justice to Halliday’s cascading silhouettes… Why settle for clothes that don’t make you want to turn cartwheels?
Words: Amelia O’Mahony Brady