Irene Gilbert (fashion designer)

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Ireland's first couturier

Irene Gilbert (19 July 1908 – 7 August 1985[1])[2] (pronounced "Irini").[3] Margarat Elizabeth Irene Gilbert was born in Main Street, Thurles, County Tipperary to Jennie (née Knox) and William Charles, a commercial traveller in the printing and stationery trade. Irene was an Irish fashion designer based in Dublin.[4][5][6][7][8] Ireland's first couturier, she was a member of the "Big Three" Irish fashion designers, along with Sybil Connolly and Raymond Kenna/Kay Peterson.[9][10] Designing for royalty and high society,[3] she was famous for her work and friendship with Grace Kelly.[2][6] She was the first woman to run a successful fashion business in Ireland, operating out of a shop on St Stephen's Green on the southside of the city.[6]

Early life[edit]

Gilbert was born in Thurles, County Tipperary in 1908.[9][2][11] She is living on the Mall in Waterford on the 1911 census. Her father is forty and her mother twenty-two. Her parents have been married for three years and she is their only child. Charles Edward Gilbert and Jane Knox were married in St. Pancras, London in December 1907.

Work[edit]

Gilbert's career in the fashion industry began when she ran a dress shop on Wicklow Street in Dublin.[2] She then went to London to train under a court dressmaker, before returning to open a hat shop on Dublin's North Frederick Street in the late 40's[2]

Having moved to St Stephen's Green, Gilbert opened a shop there in 1947.[11][12][6] She began selling clothes under her own label from 1950, since her first show took place in Restaurant Jammet.[6] She was known for her work with silk, tweed,[13] linen and Carrickmacross lace.[14][15][3][12][11] Future celebrated designer, Pat Crowley, worked for Gilbert for seven years from 1960, as a designer as well as a sales and marketing specialist.[16][17][18] The quality of the work contributed to Dublin's reputation as a "must stop-over" for the international fashion media.[19]

She designed one of the ten variations of the Aer Lingus uniform.[20]

Gilbert closed the business in 1969 and emigrated to Malta.[12][6] She later moved to Cheltenham in England where she died in 1985.[2]

Legacy[edit]

Gilbert's creations were prized by Anne, Countess of Rosse whose collection of Gilberts are now curated at Birr Castle.[6] In January 2018, Gilbert's life and work was the subject of an exhibition at the Little Museum of Dublin.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Irish Times, 07 Aug 1985: 1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "How a young woman from Thurles became Ireland's first 'fashion radical'". thejournal.ie. 27 January 2018. Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "St. Patrick's Beauties". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, Connecticut. 11 March 1962. p. 29. Retrieved 30 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  4. ^ Vanderbilt, Amy (20 Apr 1969). "Wonders of the Old World Children". Lansing State Journal. Lansing, Michigan. p. 133. Retrieved 31 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  5. ^ Cavanagh, Dale (15 March 1969). "You're sew right - Straightening Fabrics". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa. p. 19. Retrieved 31 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  6. ^ a b c d e f g O'Byrne, Robert (1 April 2000). "Out of style, out of mind". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Afternoon Ensemble". News-Journal. Mansfield, Ohio. 4 Feb 1954. p. 10. Retrieved 31 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  8. ^ "Irene Gilbert Coat Dress Has Soft Bodice Lines". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. 13 November 1954. p. 12. Retrieved 31 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  9. ^ a b "Regard Dublin Stylists As Distinctly Different". The Central New Jersey Home News. New Brunswick, New Jersey. Associated Press. 21 April 1963. p. 15. Retrieved 30 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  10. ^ O Sullivan, Kathleen (16 November 2016). "'Fashion With An Irish Brogue': The Life And Legacy Of Sybil Connolly". headstuff.org. Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Irish Designers Are Looking at US Women". The Baytown Sun. Baytown, Texas. 6 May 1954. p. 10. Retrieved 30 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  12. ^ a b c Adburgham, Alison (11 March 1969). "More method, less romance in Dublin". The Guardian. London. p. 7. Retrieved 31 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  13. ^ "A Designing Pair". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. 7 Aug 1955. p. 89. Retrieved 30 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  14. ^ "FASHION STORY by Spodeo: Dublin Has Dandy Duds". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. 14 March 1960. p. 9. Retrieved 30 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  15. ^ Spadea, Jean (26 August 1956). "The Irish Collections: Golden Genius on the Emerald Isle". The Star Press. Muncie, Indiana. p. 12. Retrieved 30 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  16. ^ "Pat Crowley: A Tribute". IMAGE.ie. 19 December 2013. Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  17. ^ Hourican, Emily (23 December 2013). "Always a cut above the rest". Independent.ie. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Fashion designer and astute businesswoman". The Irish Times. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Dublin Fashions Irene Gilbert Combines Design, Timeless Styling". The Akron Beacon-Journal. Akron, Ohio. 16 August 1959. p. 82. Retrieved 30 January 2018 – via Newspapers.com.Free to read
  20. ^ "Aer Lingus crew to get sartorial upgrade". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2018-06-03.

Further reading[edit]

  • O'Byrne, Robert (2000). After a Fashion: A History of the Irish Fashion Industry. Dublin: Town House and Country House. ISBN 1860591159.