Róisín Pierce presents Blàthanna Fiáin, the collection she has created after winning the Chanel Prix des Métiers d’Art prize at the Hyères festival.
You’ve just had your collection shot by Andrew Nuding go up as the lead image on vogue.co.uk. Is this all a whirlwind at the moment? How are you coping?
I am really happy to finally share this collection and to see the good press it has received is really motivating! I’m very appreciative of the attention my work gets but I can’t get too caught up in it, there is always so much to do!
You were the recipient of €20,000 from the Chanel Prix des Métiers d’Art prize last year. This enabled you to develop Bláthanna Fiáin for the Hyères Festival 2020 edition, what was the process for the creation of this collection?
So with the Chanel Prix des Métiers d’Art I worked with Chanel’s Métiers to create three new collaborative pieces as part of my latest collection, Blàthanna Fiáin (Wild Flowers). I flew to Paris with some preliminary designs and met with the different metiers, I was most excited about realising a design for a bag with Chanel’s Atelier Verneuil-en-Halatte. It was designed like a flower pod that opens in three petal segments – almost like a flower blooming. The end ‘tassel’ like details mimic little stigmas drooping below the base. And has sweet little cotton bows dotted along the strap. It was a wonderful collaboration.
What sort of inspirations formed the mood for Bláthanna Fiáin?
Bláthanna Fiáin (Wild flowers) is a continuation of my last collection Mná i Bláth (Women in Bloom). The name of the collection, Bláthanna Fiáin (Wild flowers) refers to women that had children out of wedlock, often wrongly perceived as promiscuous or wild regardless of the circumstances that led to their pregnancy. Floral symbols are prevalent, a reference to the euphemistic way in which female sexuality is and was expressed and repressed in Ireland. The allusion to flowers further plays out in the constructive techniques, with bodices drooping in petals, and small floral buds peeking through embroideries on seams. The collection is a celebration of the old and the new. However dark the subject of inspiration, I always wanted the clothes and textures to evoke a sense of joy and excitement. They are playful in terms of textures which I continuously redevelop into new and interesting formations that are still distinctively Roísín Pierce.
What is your background in fashion?
I studied textile design in the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. After graduating I moved to Copenhagen where I worked in design and fabric development for luxury brands. In Copenhagen there was great attention to detail and lots of highly skilled makers. My drive for innovation and creativity was met with resistance. Instead of feeling dejected by this I felt motivated and inspired. It was at that point that I realised I needed to start my own brand and design my own clothing.
“The collection is a celebration of the old and the new. However dark the subject of inspiration, I always wanted the clothes and textures to evoke a sense of joy and excitement.”
How did lockdown impact your work? What do you think has changed forever as part of it?
I already work from home so fortunately I have not been terribly impacted by the lockdown(s).
The fashion system definitely has been disrupted; fashion schedules, digital shows, and video meetings being the biggest change. I do think digital runway shows make a lot of sense from many angles; it allows companies and designers to impact on a much bigger audience in a more immediate and curated way. It’s more inclusive, more cost effective and less environmentally taxing. Every industry is having to adapt, this forced change in many cases is pushing progress.
Who are your fashion heroes?
Issey Miayke is one of my all time favourite designers, he was doing incredible experimental things very early on and created an extremely successful brand that is commercially successful, innovative and special. I favour designers that hone their distinctive style and aesthetic.
Three accounts we should follow on instagram?
I very much like; Fashion_rev (Fashion revolution) which delivers great fashion industry insight on sustainability.
(Andrew Nuding) – A brilliant Irish photographer everyone should know!
And may I suggest a podcast? (Bow Down: Women in Art) hosted by Jennifer Higgie and guests discuss various talented female artists from the past.
What’s next for you?
Right now designing my next collection. I also have some new creative projects starting up so lots happening which is how I like it!