Katie Larmour is an Irish Designer who trained as an Applied Artist at the University of Ulster’s School of Art and Design in Belfast. She spent the early part of her career working as a model and presenter, presenting over 40 shows at Belfast Fashion Week, at the same time working as an art and antiques dealer for eight years after her graduation, before pursuing her lifelong dream of setting up Katie Larmour Design Studio in 2014.
Katie specialises in creating exclusive and unique luxury couture cushions, which are expertly made from vintage and rare antique silks of bold and beautiful patterns on the front, and traditional Irish linen - from one of the last remaining linen mills still active in Ireland - on the back. She travels around the world to personally hand-select original and rare fabrics, which she transforms into her range of unique home furnishings.
Breathing new life into the vintage scarves at her studio in Belfast, many of the silks bear the name or signature of their designer embodied in the original fabric, including such illustrious figures from the world of high fashion as Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci, Chanel, Balmain, Cartier, Hermes, Pierre Cardin, Balenciaga, Lanvin of Paris, and Liberty of London.
All of the cushions are artisan-made by talented seamstresses - filled with plush duck feathers and down, lined with 100% natural bamboo for softness, and secured with hidden zip dress closures. These beautifully hand-crafted items of unusual patterning, tasteful colouring, and exquisite finish, are works of art in themselves, as well as being functional, enhancing any bijou interior, traditional or contemporary.
Including Irish Linen in her designs was a simple decision for Katie. As she explains - “Irish Linen has always been around me - from my childhood in Northern Ireland, right through to the present day. Growing up, I could see a host of huge linen mills and factory chimneys still dotted across the city skyline’, adding -
“At the start of the 18th century my forbears in the Larmour family came to Ireland with a great influx of French Huguenots who brought with them their new tools, techniques, and artisan skills to firmly establish the linen industry in Northern Ireland, and see it rise to a become a world leader in textiles. This is the tradition to which I am adding my particular vision.”
Katie’s other exclusive range - contemporary patchwork Irish Linen cushions - has a neutral palate, incorporating the classic and pristine white and natural, undyed oatmeal linen that has become a signature hallmark of all her pieces. Made from the flax plant, Irish Linen is an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative to fabrics that use fertilisers and pesticides. It needs little water, and the whole plant is used, making it a waste-free crop.
In a world of mass production and throw-away fashions, Katie’s cushions are of a unique, one-of-a-kind beauty, examples of which have been acquired by discerning international fashionistas, A-list stars, and even royal families.
“I am very passionate about celebrating Irish Linen and its unique qualities. The aim of my studio is to contribute to, and promote, high craftsmanship, with designs that are timeless and classic, but with a contemporary freshness. Each piece has a precious and individual beauty, complemented by the rawness of the pure Irish Linen texture” adds Katie.
The studio has had some recent success and recognition. In 2015, Katie exhibited her cushions in ‘A Year of Irish Design’ during Belfast’s first Design Week. In 2016 she won a place with the British European Design Group (BEDG) to exhibit with them in New York as part of New York Design Week, where her entire sample collection was purchased by an interior design boutique in the Hamptons, Long Island. Last year, in Spring/Summer 2017, a cushion collection of hers was carried by ‘Heals of London’ in their Tottenham Court Road flagship store. She is soon to be featured as a celebrated maker at the first ever Linen Biennale taking place in Northern Ireland later this year.
Katie’s work has also been featured on the front cover of ‘House Beautiful’ magazine, in ‘Haute Living’ magazine, in the Financial Times ‘How To Spend It’ supplement, and selected for inclusion in ‘Antiques & Home’ magazine’s ‘picks’ pages multiple times. The brand is also listed on the official website of the Irish Linen Guild as a certified “trusted and recommended” purveyor of Irish Linen goods.
Katie’s designs are currently available through such fashionable outlets as the New York-based antique dealership 1stdibs.com; the Agresti concession in Harrods via a showpiece and catalogue; Butchoff Fine Antiques on Kensington Church Street, just a stone’s throw away from Kensington Palace; and a range will also soon be available in Brown Thomas, Dublin’s luxury department store, as part of their ‘Create’ project in 2018.
For more information on Katie and her designs, go to: katielarmourdesign.com
Katie Larmour is a member of: Craft NI, the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, the Crafts Council of England and the Ulster Society of Women Artists.