Women We Love: Fashion Designer Catriona Hanly

To simply title Catriona Hanly a fashion designer would not do her incredibly opulent, gorgeously decadent designs crafted from luxurious fabrics and inspired by the glamour of eras gone by justice.

Catriona Hanly is a couture queen.

Since the London-based Irish designer launched her first collection, after studying her craft at Central St Martin’s in London and The Barbara Bourke College of Fashion in Dublin, she has taken the fashion world by storm.

Catriona Hanly Women We Love

Her bold and beautiful fashion collections have caught attention worldwide, and the standout pieces are often the celebrities including Wolf of Wall Street actress Madison McKinley; Amanda Byram, Victoria Smurfit and Vogue Williams.

This all comes after Catriona first established her jewellery line in over 350 boutiques in Ireland, the UK and the US and went on to deliver interiors projects in leading hotels and private residences across the globe.

We chatted to Catriona about how she established a career across the fashion and interior design industries, who she’d most like to dress, and the fashion trends she most deplores…

How did you get your job?

It all began when I studied Fashion in the Barbara Bourke College on South Anne Street in Dublin.

From there I moved into the world of jewellery becoming the Junior Buyer for Bergdorf Goodman in NYC.

I spent a number of years in jewellery and was lucky to have my pieces in over 350 boutiques across Ireland, the UK and USA.

What advice would I give aspiring designers? Make sure to follow what you believe and don’t just go with the trends.

From there I moved into interior design where I worked primarily for 6 or 7 years and still do to this day working on both hotels and private residences all over the world.

In 2008 I moved to Paris and this is when I started to design. I then moved to London and studied fashion design in Central St Martin’s – this is when I began to produce my own collections.

It was something I had always wanted to do especially after studying my craft originally in Barbara Bourke’s.

How would you describe your signature style of design?

Very chic, opulent, unique and bespoke.

Of all the pieces you’ve created, clothing and jewellery, do you have a favourite?

If I was to pick a favourite it would have to be the Sequin Two Piece Top and Pants with a ruffled Black Organza & Silk Blouse which will be featured in my upcoming Autumn Winter 2018 Collection.

Talk us briefly through the design and creation process?

I take inspiration from vintage pieces and old movies from eras gone by.

Fabrics are also extremely important as they bring the collection to life and are an essential element of every piece.

Can you share some of the interior projects you’ve worked on?

I’ve recently redesigned 12 bedrooms in Lough Rynn Castle, Co. Leitrim.

I’ve also worked on two private residences in Cannes in the South of France.

Recently I designing the uniforms for the stunning ME Hotel in London’s Covent Garden.

What advice would you give to an aspiring young designer?

Try to start with a bit of working capital which I know is not always possible.

Ensure you have good people working around you and form a team of the like-minded individuals.

Make sure to follow what you believe and don’t just go with the trends.

What challenges have you faced in business as a young female entrepreneur?

It’s always hard to keep on top of everything, especially when you produce your own collection twice a year.

That coupled with working on a lot of interior projects for private homes and hotels means that time management is key.

Ensure you have good people working around you and form a team of the like-minded individuals.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Moving from interiors into the fashion industry.

What do consider your greatest achievement?

Being nominated for Designer of the Year 2015 and winning Jewellery Designer of the Year.

What designers inspire you?

Valentino, Chanel and Dior, and I’ve always admired Irish Designer Louise Kennedy.

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?

A vintage Cartier watch my mum gave me.

If you could design a dress for anyone in the world who would it be?

Amal Clooney.

What high street clothing store do you rate the most?


What fashion trend do you most want to see die?

I’m not a fan of high waisted trousers and I especially dislike anything that shows too much cleavage.

I am all about pieces being tasteful and classic.

What are your top three beauty essentials?

Creme De La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream (€400, Brown Thomas), Argiletz Argile Verte Masque Bane Facemask (€3.55, mademoiselle-bio.com) and my Hermès Elixir des Merveilles Eau de Parfum (€103, Debenhams).

What are your favourite ways to keep fit?

Going for walks in my local park, it also helps to clear my head after a busy day.

What’s your morning routine?

I get up at 6am and start my day with a fresh juice. I then go through my emails and make a few calls before I head to the office.

Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it so special?

Definitely Soho in New York City. I lived there for 7 years while working in Bergdorf Goodman.

What is your greatest food pleasure?

Chinese food.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received? 

Follow your heart and trust your instincts.

Can you share any plans you have in the pipeline?

I am finalising my A/W 2018 collection and planning my S/S 2019.

I have also designed my first six evening gowns and I’m also currently working on designing uniforms for a French Company in London.

For more information on Catriona Hanly visit www.catrionahanly.com and follow her work on Instagram (@catrionahanly.official), Twitter (@catrionahanly) and Facebook (@catrionahanly.official).

Article by Erica Bracken, Editor at IndulgeMe.ie. You can follow Erica on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.