20 March

Tailored Image collaborate with Dublin designer at Bewley's relaunch

Dublin fashion and costume designer, Therese McKeone

In addition to designing bespoke uniforms, Tailored Image occasionally collaborate with local designers, as was the case when working with Dublin based designer Therese McKeone on the relaunch of Dublin's famous Bewley's cafe.

View the results in our hospitality case study section.

We asked Therese to give us an insight into her approach to the project.

" As a Dublin based designer working in theatre, fashion, film and the corporate sector for almost twenty years I was delighted when Bewley’s asked me to design their new uniforms. It was an exciting challenge to bring the traditional black and white uniforms of this iconic café and cultural institution into the 21st century without losing the important elements of the past.

 Reaching into my background in design history and material culture, I set about designing a contemporary, functional and aesthetically pleasing new uniform that would fuse Bewley’s firm sense of tradition with an acknowledgement that its historic Grafton Street premises are also part of modern Dublin café culture.

 Inspiration was taken from the wonderfully rich Harry Clarke windows, the mosaic tiles at the Johnson’s Court entrance, and the stunning Egyptian inspired façade. The café, originally opened in 1927, is an exquisite creation of the Art Deco era. The Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic influence can be seen throughout Bewley’s. It seemed appropriate to reflect these influences in the design and choice of fabric for the uniforms.

 A beautiful original Liberty print, ‘Capel’ Tana lawn, was chosen for the management blouses and ties. First woven in the 1930s its vibrant ochre colour is a nod to the sunflower yellow that became a symbol of the aesthetes. The colour is also reflected in the Harry Clarke windows and the floor mosaics. It adds a vibrant splash of colour to the monochrome uniforms.

I chose a bold black and white striped French cotton jersey top for the baristas layered with a functional latte coloured canvas apron to add elements of modernity and craftsmanship. An easy to wear culotte is a practical but stylish choice, allowing staff to perform their duties with ease while looking smart and elegant. An apron with a bold black stripe frames the look and echoes the baristas stripes, creating a connectivity between staff members.

 The bespoke lotus flower button, used throughout, was inspired by the Art Deco façade and has become synonymous with the Bewley’s brand. The cotton Twills used for the ‘firefiller’ industrial type jacket are contemporary and durable.

 The choice of fabrics, from the beautiful and historic liberty print to the robust and hardworking canvas and twills are representative of modern day Bewley’s.  An elegant, functional and hard working establishment that respects the crafts, skills and trades of all those who have gone before and are yet to come.  My interpretation ensures that the modern and the Art Deco period merge with fine craftsmanship to represent the Bewley’s of today.

 *Therese McKeone is a multi-award winning fashion and costume designer who has an MA in Design History and Material Culture from NCAD.