Sybil Connoly in an armchair in a grand room with a large window and fireplace. Above the mantlepiece is a portrait of a woman in a white dress, and in front of the mantlepiece a woman poses looking out the window in a white dress.

“I have to buy my diamonds and mink myself – and that's the way I like it”

Sybil Connolly

Sybil Connolly (1921-1998) was a fashion designer renowned for creating haute couture from Irish textiles. She used materials such as finely pleated handkerchief linen, delicate crochet lace and durable Irish tweed to create designs that were inspired by Irish people, traditions and culture.

Dubbed by the media as “Dublin’s Dior”, Sybil was truly a pioneering designer. She was one of the first Irish fashion designers to enjoy international success. She surprised, and delighted, the fashion world with her creations in the 1950s, working with department stores Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor, NYC. Famous clients of hers included America’s First Lady, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and actresses Adele Astaire (musical Funny Face) and Julie Andrews (film Sound of Music). Many of Sybil’s designs featured in fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the 1950s.

Sybil worked from Ireland, employing many people in a country still finding its feet after independence. 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.