March 13, 2018
Born in London before moving to Galway at an early age, Caterina Coyne went on to become a high ranking dancer. She won several Connaght Championship titles and consistently ranked in the top ten at the World and All Ireland Championships. As a Riverdance lead dancer she toured the globe and wowed thousands, but like all Riverdance alumni, her passions and talents expand well beyond the stage. Caterina is quickly making a name for herself on the Irish fashion scene as a gifted designer. Kindly agreeing to fill us in on her design approach, she also regaled us with memories of her time in the show.
What Are your Strongest Memories from Riverdance ?
I have so many fond memories from Riverdance… probably too many to mention!!! But there are of course a couple in particular that stand out.
Dancing Lead in Radio City Music Hall in New York is one. My family came out to visit and for them to see me dance Lead on one of the most prestigious stages in the world was special. That week actually was fantastic. It was St Patricks day and we were performing there all week. If memory serves me right I think it was the 15 year anniversary of Riverdance… Most of the cast had family come to see them and you could just feel the excitement and energy within the cast !! It was great!!
Actually, dancing my first show with the company is one I wont forget. I don’t think any dancer who performs with Riverdance will forget their first show. You’re so nervous, trying to remember everything and also knowing that you are joining such a special show…
You Studied at Grafton Academy after leaving Riverdance. How far back did your interest in design go and how did you make the decision to take the course?
I have always had an interest in design, before I went on my first tour with Riverdance I was thinking about studying design in college. Then while I travelled with the company I did a couple of short courses. I remember going to our wardrobe ladies Bridgette and Nicole to help me with different things….
After leaving the show I went into teaching … I was living in Los Angeles and while I absolutely loved it I had this urge to follow my dream of becoming a Fashion Designer. I knew that if I didn’t take the chance then I maybe might never do it. Once I decided that I was going to do it, I said to myself well if your going to take this risk and leave what you have already set up in LA you better do it right. So I looked into different courses and colleges and Grafton Academy in Dublin seemed to be the right fit for me. It is really flexible with how you take your classes plus some of Irelands best and most established designers also went there… Paul Costello, Louise Kennedy etc.
You Performed in Joan Bergin’s Riverdance Costumes every night of your Riverdance Career, did they have an effect on your approach to design?
Absolutely!!!! The costumes in Riverdance are every bit as important as the dancers, the music the set etc in the show. Everything works together to tell the story and I think that has influenced me when I design. I like to think my designs evoke emotion to whomever wears them. How a dress or piece feels and moves on a body is something I always think about and I most certainly think that stems from being a dancer. I also know the craftsmanship that goes into the costumes in Riverdance… and as a designer that is hugely important to me. How the clothes are made and the thought and care that goes into each piece is essential.
Who are your designs for and how do you want people to feel in them?
My designs are for anyone that wants to look and feel fabulous! I think they are special pieces, I am currently working with The Carrickmacross Lace gallery in Carrickmacross on some special pieces for my new collection. They are 100% handmade here in Ireland and the craftmanship that goes into them is really amazing. Carrickmacross Lace has a slight stigma of being used for just wedding veils and Communion gowns so I’d like to change that. I am putting Carrickmacross lace pieces and motifs into my designs which are fresh and current. Each design is ever so slightly different, so I think that makes it unique.
What are your current design obsessions and what sort of future do you envision for Caterina Coyne designs?
I’m obsessed with design houses like Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Dior… the list could go on!!! I just love the escapism of some of their pieces and how dreamy and magical they are! I guess I am a dreamer myself so that’s where all that comes from… I also think Irish designers are having a moment and its fantastic to see all the up and coming designers doing so well and the support they are getting. They stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best known designers in the world so I think that says a lot for our strong heritage of great craftsmanship in this country.
As far as my own brand … I have a couple of exciting months ahead…. I am nominated at the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards on March 22nd for ‘Designer of the Year’ which is very exciting. I will be focusing on my AW18 collection this year, but of course I have big dreams for the brand and want to expand outside of just Womens Wear… I have an obsession with shoes for as long as I can remember and have some ideas for that so watch this space!!!
Follow Caterina on Instagram
Returning to INEC Killarney this September