Dressing the Celtic Soul Book Review – Celebration of the Irish Dance Dress

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Dressing the Celtic Soul, from Craggane Designs and Linda Perry Cooper and Rosemary Cooper, presents a contemporary Irish dance costume look book with enchanting photography, mythical dresses, poems and prose, all set against lush landscapes and majestic seas.

Part fashion catalog filled with seasonal Irish dance costumes and part ode to the Irish soul, Dressing the Celtic Soul, unfolds with dreamlike mystery as each page presents a modern, beautifully styled, hand-stitched design accompanied by prose and poetry by many of literature's most renown writers.

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"We were deeply inspired by design elements and concepts ranging from our own ancestral lineage and historic cultures all the ways through fandoms and emerging fashion trends. We have created a new genre of Irish dance dress that respects the past while pushing the boundaries of convention, "Rosemary Cooper says." We also looked to the traditional craft and "maker" cultures, we love to transform raw materials and push the potentials of fabrics and threads."

Dressing the Celtic Soul bridges the gap between competition costumes for elite Irish dancers and garments that explore the depth of fantasy.

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Deconstructing the traditional Irish concept of elaborate story dresses that told myths in the form of applique and embroidery, the created sketches influenced by the Celtic and Mainland European worlds an re-forged the bond between traditional design elements conceptual designs a and more stylized ideas.

Divided into five sections, "Meadow," "Forest," "Sea," "Henge," and "Hearth," the dresses are designed to capture the allure of a by-gone era, to transport in both vision and style, and to provide a costume which is traditional, meets requirements for competition dance, and elevates the dancer into her magical world.

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Page after page of beautiful designed dresses, all exquisite, adorned with jewels, beads, sequins, lace, piping, embroidery, and the powerful crest, symbols of clans and heritage. Set against the land of their ancestors, the dazzling images invoke the mysteries of the seas, the history of Ireland and people, traditions and customs that have enchanted the world over.

Presenting the images in a dreamscape, the Coopers collaborated with leading lights in fantasy photographer Bella Kotak to complete their vision of fantasy photography.

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The inspiration to undertake this labor of love grew from Ms. Perry Cooper's extensive professional background of creative work including decades of opera and ballet design and construction. This included the Public Opera of Dallas, University of Georgia, Southern Methodist University, Dallas Children's Theater, Dallas Theater Center, City Ballet, Dallas, Iverin Irish Dance Company, Niall O'Leary Irish Dance Company. She also founded her own line of romantically inspired bespoke children's clothes.

Her daughter Rosemary, a competitive Irish dancer who earned her TCRG (Gaelic Teagascóir Choimisiúin le Rinci Gaelacha) is a multi-titled regional champion in traditional Irish music and is the Assistant Director and soloist for the Isadora Duncan International Institute. In 2007 the two began Craggane Designs Irish Dance Dresses in New York City.

Dressing the Celtic Soul, with more than 100 pages, stirs the heart of every Irish dance lover, Celtic dreamer, and romanticist. Available at fine bookstores, at Amazon and through CragganeDesigns.com.


All images courtesy of Craggane Designs and used with permission.

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