Linen Legend that is Sybil Connolly

Irish Linen is known all across the world for its timeless aesthetic and practicality as well as its high quality standard, it is a material that is still in today’s’ fashion and textile industry highly regarded, and is mainly applied in the making of luxurious textiles.

Looking into the history of Irish Linen, the infamous designer Sybil Connolly had drawn my attention. Sybil Connolly was born in 1921 Swansea but soon moved to Waterford after the death of her Irish born father. From her early years Connolly studied dress making in London soon to return to the Emerald Isle to work in Richard Allen’s Fashion house under the ownership of Jack Clark. Going from strength to strength, Connolly soon became Design Director in 1952 for the fashion house; it didn’t take long for her designs using various material’s such as tweed, lace and crochet to attract an American audience.

I had the opportunity during my time at University in Belfast, I attended an intimate viewing of several Sybil Connolly designs that demonstrated her trademark style of pleated Linen. What I found most intriguing about the two original pieces by Connolly is the horizontal pleats are so closely stitched together, creating a continuous line of simplistic scale. This particular styling of linen was achieved by closely pleating up to nine yards of linen handkerchiefs to produce just one yard of delicate fabric, and as a result of such intricate work some of the finest pleated garments were produced.

Irish linen plays a huge role in Irish heritage today, having such a colossal fan base over the years, Sybil Connolly reinvented Irish linen making it her trademark design and showing the world its beauty.

By Alex McCluskey

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