Sybil Connolly recalls how a red flannel petticoat worn by a Connemara woman inspired her first international fashion collection.

Sybil Connolly was the first Irish woman designer to become successful internationally and was known for her use of Irish fabrics. Jackie Kennedy wore one of her pleated linen dresses in her official White House portrait.  Sybil was born in Wales in 1921 and trained in London before coming home to work for Richard Alan during Second World War.

In this TV interview from ‘Hindsight’, Sybil tells Emer O’Kelly how it all began. She had been asked to present a collection to the Philadelphia Fashion Group and had chosen an Irish theme. She went to Connemara for inspiration, where she saw a woman wearing a traditional red flannel petticoat. She bought a bolt of the same fabric from the local shop and made it into a quilted evening skirt, which was a huge success at the fashion show.