The handling of homespun fabric in a sophisticated manner is the forte of Sybil Connolly.1
In 1953, Irish designer Sybil Connolly was "discovered" by a group of American department store buyers and fashion reporters visiting Ireland. Having worked as a dressmaker in London and Dublin since the late 1930s, Connolly was actually an experienced designer. Connolly's designs were a hit with the American visitors, and she was invited to the United Stated to present her work. In March of 1953, Connolly arrived in Philadelphia to present a collection at Gimbels Department Store. Inevitably, the showing was scheduled for St. Patrick's Day.
Though her first collection featured a variety of well-received suits and day dresses, it was a ball gown of finely pleated Irish linen "of a quality so fine it was almost chiffon-like in weight" that received the most attention.2 As her career progressed, Connolly's consistent use of this same lightweight, pleated linen became a trademark. In 1971, almost 20 years after Connolly's first visit to the United States, women attending a Sybil Connolly trunk show in New York were still enthusiastic about her pleated linen dresses.