The world renowned traditional craft of Mountmellick lace has been given a new life, thanks to Laois fashion designer Heidi Higgins.
The successful Portlaoise designer collaborated with Mountmellick embroiderer Dolores Dempsey, to create a beautiful one-off dress that brings the lace bang into the 21st century.
The famed ‘white-on-white’ embroidery has been incorporated into a classic Heidi Higgins style dress of white jaquard fabric woven with gold lamé thread.
Still under wraps as it gets the final touches, it will be exclusively revealed at a launch in the MDA this Friday night at 8pm by the designer.
“The MDA contacted me to see if I was interested, and I was delighted to say yes,” said Ms Higgins, who did a study of the lace work while in NCAD.
After visiting Mountmellick Museum to see pieces on display, she and Dolores, who is curator of the museum, began working on a pattern to combine the old and new.
“It is beautiful work. It was lovely to collaborate and give something so local a new lease of life,” said the award winning designer.
The dress is not for sale, but will take pride of place in the MDA museum.
Heidi is now considering using the lace in other pieces.
“I have other events coming up and I may use it for flagship pieces, for a wow factor. It would be expensive to incorporate in collections but hopefully we have opened a door,” Ms Higgins said.
The big reveal takes place during the weeklong William Edmundson Homecoming festival. The night also features a reading from Edmundson’s journal by his descendant James, a poetry reading by Ann Egan and music by Ger Philips.
MDA Manager Paddy Buggy welcomes Heidi’s support.
“By lending her name, we hope it brings a new audience and generation to Mountmellick work. It is a living craft. We have master practitioners who teach visiting guilds from all over the world,” he said.
There will be tours of the museum during the festival.