Born in 1921, this pioneering entrepreneur created the first international Irish haute couture fashion and design house.
Connolly’s US clients included Rockefellers, Du Ponts and Mellons in addition to screen stars Merle Oberon, Grace Kelly, Julie Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was also an ardent supporter; she chose a pleated linen dress for her official White House portrait, painted by Aaron Shickler, in 1970. 1953 saw the launch of Sybil’s international career when her iconic full-length red Kinsale cape and white crochet evening dress featured on the cover of LIFE magazine with the title ‘Irish Invade Fashion World’.
Sybil Connolly enthusiastically supported Ireland, Irish craft and Irish textiles, including Carrickmacross lace, Donegal Magee tweed, báinín, Moygashel linen, unbleached wool and red flannel. In the 1950s she employed 100 or so women to weave and crochet, many working from their own homes.
Remaining single throughout her life, Sybil would say during interviews “I have to buy my diamonds and mink myself – and that’s the way I like it”.
Later in her career, she turned her attention to interior and garden design, creating wallpapers, fabrics, glass and ceramics for companies such as Tipperary Crystal and Tiffany & Co., NYC. Her wallpapers adorned the walls of Russborough House County Wicklow, built between 1741-1750, and regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses. Connolly’s wallpapers were also used to decorate the wonderful Norman castle of Dunsaney, whose original structure dates back to the 12th century, in County Meath.
The Cottage Orné collection, designed when Sybil was 60 years old, and used to decorate The Swiss Cottage, Cahir, County Tipperary has been commercially produced with permissions from The Hunt Museum Limerick, in whose whose historic Custom House building The Sybil Connolly Collection resides.
Using original patterns, we have reassembled these truly unique and beautiful designs for the first time in over 50 years.
The restoration of this archive is an ongoing process and requires funding. When you fall in love with a design from The Sybil Collection, Wallpapers of Ireland contribute a percentage of the proceeds from your purchase to the Hunt Museum on your behalf. In this way, you will have written Sybil into your story by contributing towards the conservation of this Irish collection for future generations.
To find out more about The Hunt Museum click here.
Irish Design. Print Ready. Effortless Elegance.