ALLY Nolan, a fashion designer from Bagenalstown, has just scooped an award for an illuminating dress she created for the Festival of Curiosity last week.
Ally called the striking red frock The queen of the night after an exotic short-lived flower that only blooms after dark.
The floor-length skirt features hundreds of laser-cut and hand-sewn petals made of rubber, which are lit up from underneath with LED lighting. The talented designer was inspired by both 18th century crinolines and 1950s Dior classic lines.
Ally won the top prize at the Future Fashion Design Awards after she and five other young fashion designers were mentored in the Curiosity Studios’ residency programme for two months. During that time, the designers explored how new technologies could be integrated into fashion. The judges were wowed by Ally’s use of historical silhouettes, beautifully-cut fabrics and futuristic technology.
“I learnt so much during the two months’ residency. My dad, Michael, is an electrician so he was delighted when I came home and was asking him about voltages and LEDs”, Ally laughed.
She also said that the Curiosity Studio’s residency programme in the Chocolate Factory “gave us all a kick-start and a new skill. Technology helps you create and enhance what you do already and should be seen as another tool of the trade.”
Her mother, Geraldine and siblings, Michael and Jenny, all helped her to sew the 800 individual petals onto the dress which were created in Circle Laser, Kilkenny.
She reckons that she’ll treat her family as thanks for their help with some of the €2,500 prize fund that she won in the competition.
A graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Ally is completing a history masters programme in TCD. She was always interested in art but it was only after first year in NCAD that she decided to focus on fashion.
“I admire any Irish designer who has managed to carve a niche out for themselves, especially Louise Kennedy, Laura Kinsella and Natalie B Coleman,” Ally explained.