Recalling the Radicals

This site is dedicated to celebrating Ireland’s architectural heritage, but occasionally other aspects and eras of one’s life intrude: in this specific instance a time when Ireland’s fashion history was of absorbing interest. Curated by your correspondent, Ireland’s Fashion Radicals is an exhibition that explores how this country came to develop a thriving fashion industry during the 1950s and ‘60s. The earlier decade is regarded as being perhaps the worst in post-Independence Ireland yet this was the moment – when both emigration and unemployment were rampant – that a group of designers, the great majority of them women, initiated successful businesses in the field of fashion. In so doing, they also proposed a new image of Ireland as a centre of design excellence, one that was eagerly embraced and promoted overseas so that soon fashion editors and buyers flocked to Dublin as much as they did Paris or London. These pioneers deserve to be celebrated, and the Irish Aesthete is delighted to salute Ireland’s Fashion Radicals.


Ireland’s Fashion Radicals runs at the Little Museum of Dublin, 15 St Stephen’s Green until March 18th next. For those in search of architectural stimulation, the building dates from the second half of the 1770s when built for Gustavus Hume.

6 comments on “Recalling the Radicals

  1. The Prof says:

    Robert, we know you tend to demonstrate some style in your polychromatic apparel, but we would never have had you down as a fashionista. Perhaps this exhibition goes some way to explain all your pizzazz and panache? I will remind you of some wise words from Coco Chanel ‘fashion fades, only style is timeless’.

  2. Bob Frewen says:

    @The Prof – Indeed; fashion is for those with no style. Or. as Oscar Wilde said “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”

  3. Ursula Campbell says:

    Thank you. I enjoy all your content, but this was delightful.

  4. […] Curated by Robert O’Byrne, Ireland’s Fashion Radicals is an exhibition that seeks to celebrate and honour the visionaries and pioneers of the Irish fashion industry from the period of the 1950s to 1970s. As the curator O’Byrne puts it, “From a ballgown worn in Buckingham Palace to pink lurex bell-bottoms worn to the disco, this show celebrates Irish design at its most innovative.” […]

  5. […] Curated by Robert O’Byrne, Ireland’s Fashion Radicals is an exhibition that seeks to celebrate and honour the visionaries and pioneers of the Irish fashion industry from the period of the 1950s to 1970s. As the curator O’Byrne puts it, “From a ballgown worn in Buckingham Palace to pink lurex bell-bottoms worn to the disco, this show celebrates Irish design at its most innovative.” […]

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