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Irish designer Catriona Hanly is back with ready-to-wear collection


Constance Harris - Sunday Indepenedent Life Magazine


Catriona Hanly has always been the queen of bling and good-times fashion. Back in the height of the Celtic Tiger, she was designing jewellery that was as high-octane as we were all feeling life was, in that moment.

A lot has happened for Catriona Hanly between then and now. For a time, she left the fashion business, went into interiors and moved to the UK.

She relaunched her jewellery range a while ago, but this year saw the realisation of her long-held dream - to design ready-to-wear. On our pages today is her winter 2015 occasion-wear collection; it's her second outing as a fashion designer, and the collection that she feels is most herself.

"I have been doing a lot of things in the last few years," Catriona tells me. "The market became saturated, so I gave jewellery up and I went into interiors for a while. Then things in that area went quiet. So, it was a natural progression that I started designing clothes."

Catriona studied fashion design in the Barbara Bourke College of Fashion (where Don O'Neill also began). Her contemporaries were Helen Steele, our own Triona McCarthy and former Sunday Independent social columnist Gavin Lambe-Murphy. Afterwards, she went to New York and became a junior buyer at Bergdorf Goodman, working in jewellery.

"I guess the ready-to-wear came about because many events happened around the same time. It was a progression," Catriona elaborates. "The interiors had declined, and design had been on my mind for a long time. I was living in Paris and I had been studying what was going on in fashion and in vintage. I had a lot of experience in business and working with fabrics, so it was a natural experience. I focused on doing it, and once I knew what I was doing, the designs flowed."

The Catriona Hanly collection is a party and occasion-wear collection. It consists mainly of separates that, when worn together, are mega dressy, but when separated and worn individually, say with jeans and high heels, create a cool, effortless kind of chic. Her fabrics range from silk-organza, lace and tulle, to damask, sequins and velvet.

"The collection is about my life story," Catriona explains. "There are three stories in one collection. Studio 54 - the sequin and velvet fabrics -is about when I lived in New York, and I had the best time ever. The Parisian collection is based on the year in Paris; it's all the silk-organza and lace pieces. It's sophisticated and classic. Then, there is the Marie Antoinette collection, which is all heavy, opulent fabrics, which I used to work with when I did interiors."

On sale exclusively in the Design Centre, and online, from Catriona's website,, the collection is, according to Catriona, "for women who are confident in themselves and not afraid of high fashion."

Photography by  Alexandria Hall

Fashion edited by  Constance Harris

Sunday Indo Life Magazine