Caterina Coyne is the toast of West Hollywood, and this time it’s not for her acclaimed dancing skills. Coyne was the lead dancer on the touring Riverdance show for 10 years, enrolled at Grafton Academy for three years and pursued her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
This month, she began a new chapter in her career, opening her own boutique in Sunset Plaza, specializing in pieces for “the most precious and special occasions in your life.”
What’s particularly notable about this project is alongside Coyne’s own collection of everyday and red carpet pieces, like her pink tulle dress , The store is also home to a host of other exciting Irish design talent. She slips out of her dancing shoes and into the role of the fashion lady, and sees her retail endeavors as an opportunity for other Irish designers whose work she admires.
It’s been just six years since Coyne launched her fashion label and her website has a growing customer base (caterinacoyne.com), where she offers made-to-measure orders for dresses starting at €1,250, while her one-shoulder pink tulle dress costs €1,650. Their ethos is to create “beautiful clothes for a life well lived in it”. At the last Council of Irish Fashion Designers (CIFD) show, one of her standout looks was a tulle top with a train (€189) worn with pleated cream trousers (€155), as you can see the entry prices for an outfit are not eye-catchers.
Coyne says her most popular piece on the site is definitely the “Nadia” tulle top in blush, ivory or nude, which starts at €125 and regularly sells out, with 90 pieces going to brides who want it for bridal showers or bridal showers of the day two of their weddings.
Almost all of the Irish brands featured in the LA store, like Coyne himself, are members of the CIFD, which aims to introduce its members to new markets.
She carries distinctive Irish labels such as Mona Swims by Carla Johnson,
Éadach by Sara O’Neill, Charlotte Lucas, hats by Aoife Harrison, Landa bags and crocheted wire headwear by Leonora Ferguson.
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Coyne spent childhood years in Connemara after her parents brought the family back from London. She has joined river dancee at 18, and she still has ties to the show as her husband Mark Alfred, from Co Monaghan, is her musical director and the couple split their year between living in Ireland and living abroad.
Works as much in the States with that river dance show, Coyne got her green card, which allowed her to open the shop.
“I always thought I’d love to do a store that would bring Irish fashion to Los Angeles, along with my own collection, and I feel like the pieces I have in the store are so different from what available here,” says the designer.
“There’s definitely that ‘I want something nobody else can get their hands on’ kind of, so I really think that’s going to be a strength of the store,” says Coyne, who was responsible for two standout looks at VIP Style Awards. It was the tiered backless pink ombré tulle dress worn by Louise Cooney and the pink silk chiffon train dress worn by Aoibhín Garrihy.
I would like to wish Coyne and her Irish ‘family of brands’ the best of luck with this venture. You can visit the shop on Instagram @Coyne_on_sunset.
Making and Momentum: A Conversation with Eileen Gray, researching her lasting influence on Irish design has reached another milestone.
Fashion designer Richard Malone curated the exhibition of leading visual artists, which traveled to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Dublin and Wexford for over a year. As part of the exhibition, Malone has sponsored a €10,000 prize fund to support the next generation of makers.
Among the eight artists who will each receive €1,250 is Andrew Bell of Co Louth, who will use his prize to create a range of “wearable objects of desire” that function as bags and small leather goods, with hand-cut zigzag edges , hand-painted and sanded in a process reminiscent of the ancient art of lacquer.
Olivia O’Dwyer proposed a series of paintings about female artists who have been forgotten in art history. Almha McCartan will explore handmade processes such as patchwork applique and quilting.
Jan McCullough plans a series of works and interventions that explore human propensities to mend, repair and improve their own environment. Orla Kelly creates a work in honor of the breakfast ceremony.
Ciaran Bowen wants to develop new techniques with dried-out acrylic paint skins. Darren Francis Cassidy’s sculptural work in ceramics explores the surfaces of the Beara Peninsula and visual artist Vera Ryklova received an award for developing her work in lens-based media.