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Hats Off to Laura Kinsella

When you’ve found yourself in Lady Gaga’s phonebook it’s a pretty good indicator that you’ve absolutely made it in the fashion industry. For expert milliner and winner of IMAGE Breakthrough Designer at Kerry Fashion Week 2014 Laura Kinsella, it’s been a hectic year. One where one of her designs was just one click short from appearing on a Lady Gaga album cover…

The Limerick School of Art and Design graduate interned in London with none other than Philip Treacy, and has worked with designers as far abound as Mexico and Melbourne. In fact, her former mentor unknowingly picked out her design at this years’ Dublin Horse Show at the RDS, something which came as a delightful surprise to her:

“My biggest achievements to date would be between winning Breakthrough Designer of the year at Kerry Fashion Week and my headpiece being picked as ‘most creative hat’ at the RDS August 2014.  The reason being that Philip Treacy hand picked it and he didn’t even know it was me who made it until afterwards!”

The Carlow-born hat designer cites creative influences as diverse as Japanese horror films and engineering feats in bridges as inspiration for her Spring/Summer 2013 collection. She can also count infamous fashion icon Lady Gaga as a fan of hers. In fact, one of Laura’s designs almost ended up on the cover of her album with Tony Bennett:

“Last summer I got an email from Gaga’s stylist looking for headpieces.  I thought it was a complete hoax and didn’t believe it at first even though I saw that they had been on my website and everything. Then I spoke on the phone to Brandon Maxwell’s assistant in New York and where she told me that they found me via Instagram.  Funny enough it was the pics from Kerry Fashion Week that they saw and liked!”

“They picked 5 pieces from images of my lookbook.  I packed them up and they paid to ship them Friday morning to get there for Monday.  They were for the album cover for her and Tony Bennet called ‘cheek to cheek’. Unfortunately they used an outtake for the cover in the end.  The singer explained that she and Bennett were sitting and talking when Klein had suddenly photographed them.”

For Laura, this wasn’t the only reason Kerry Fashion Week was a pivotal event for her career: “I can’t express enough how much it did for me.  It pushed me into the limelight and helped me meet people who have helped me succeed last year.  I can attribute a great deal of where I am now to winning Kerry Fashion Week and the overwhelming support from the people involved.  I would highly recommend it to any new designer.”

And what can we expect of her new collection? “I would like to go completely different each year but an interesting project in the pipeline (which I can’t announce yet) has lead me to going on the same vein as last summer.  It will be more delicate wire and string work but on a different scale.”

Check out Laura’s incredible designs at LauraKinsella.com or follow her here @LKMillinery

Hannah Popham @HannahPopham

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