The Irish fashion designer Petria Lenehan harbors many memories of growing up along the Irish coastline. “As a child, I lived by the sea in Dublin and much of our playtime was spent climbing on the rocks overlooking Dublin Bay in front of the house,” she recalls. “This is a truly magical and untouched landscape, where the colors are dictated by the passing weather and seasons.”
That nostalgia translates into Lenehan’s work. By working with materials that recall her heritage, like Donegal tweed and Irish linen, she maintains a strong connection to her homeland while currently living in Brooklyn with her family.
Lenehan also studied the natural color palette of the Irish geography and the country’s traditional clothing and fabrics for inspiration. “The way in which these textiles so clearly and honestly reflect the colors and hues of the landscape is only truly understood when confronted with the landscape itself and its people,” she explains.
Lenehan creates uncomplicated and enduring clothing, with each piece thoughtfully produced in a small workshop in Dublin. Being a mother has also had a profound impact on her process. “I find I have plenty of time to contemplate, but less time to work on new pieces and to experiment,” she says. “So the collection is very planned before I begin and in the end there are fewer styles, but each piece has a very important function.”
For her Fall 2016 collection, for example, Lenehan focused on unisex coats for men and women. Using English ventile (a rarefied cotton designed for World War II and known for its weatherproof qualities), Scottish cashmere, and a coastal color palette, the clothing is both durable and sentimental. “I am really interested in creating pieces that are well-made and feel natural in a normal, everyday setting,” says Lenehan, “and yet give the wearer a sense of another time and place.”
Petria Lenehan is available at Fairlight, New York, and Scout, Dublin. For more information, please visit PetriaLenehan.com.