So excited about my new capsule collection of suits

The are few things in life that get me more excited than a wardrobe full of new clothes. Add to that, said clothes also happen to be my own designs and you’re getting close to how I’m feeling!

The new ‘DK x LC’ collection for Autumn Winter marks my third collaboration with Ireland’s most-renowned and iconic tailor – Louis Copeland, and I feel that it is our strongest offering to date. A capsule collection of six suits – all made from the finest Italian fabrics, in the season’s most notable hues.

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This latest collection continues from where our past collections left off with my signature details of broad-peaked lapels and double-breasted waistcoats all feature in the suits which are cast in autumnal burgundy, grey and icy blue. The result, I feel, is a range of suits that appeals to both the classic and contemporary customer. The theme of this season’s collection is ‘Adventurers and Inventors’ and each suit is named after a famous Irish explorer or adventurer.

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I recently wore The Tom (called after Irish explorer, Tom Creen) – a grey window pane, double-breasted check suit on the Xtra Factor and I think it’s a fantastic example of the collection’s versatility.

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I designed the collection with the aim of creating future classics. Each of the six suits are investment pieces, but that doesn’t mean they should hang in your wardrobe, only to be worn once every couple of years. It’s not a case of ‘buy now, wear later’. It should be a case of ‘buy now and wear as much as possible,’ because ‘life is the occasion’.

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My Xtra Factor debut and chatting with Boy George

This past weekend I made my Xtra Factor debut alongside host Sarah Jane Crawford with Denise Van Outen and the very lovely Dan Wootton. It was SO much fun!

Sarh Jane Cass, Denise Van Outen, Darren Kennedy Xtra Factor
What you wouldn’t have seen on TV is the near disaster Cheryl had with her Lanvin dress, or the “Kermit” to quote Mr. Cowell, during the ad break as a giant glass of water spilled all over her. But with just seconds to go, like a true pro, she returned to her seat and got on with the show despite being drenched to the bone from the waist down.

After the show, I dropped in to see Louis Walsh in his dressing room where I found Mel B kicking back in a leopard print onesie – you gotta love Mel!

Darren Kennedy, Mel B, Louis Walsh
Earlier in the week, I attended the Attitude Awards in the gorgeous Banqueting Rooms in London. It was a brilliant night with some fantastic people including Graham Norton who received the Icon Award For Outstanding Achievement, Naomi Campbell, Tom Daley who was named Man Of The Year, the newly married Steve Jones, Ella Henderson and Paloma Faith, both of whom performed. While everyone hit the dance floor at the after party, the highlight of the night for me was chatting with Boy George.

Darren Kennedy & Boy George
At the Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year, I caught up with some of my favourite specs-wearers as I hosted the red carpet at the swanky event in central London. Kimberley Walsh made her first official outing since having baby Bobby, who was tucked away upstairs in a hotel room. She’s such a beauty and WOW what a voice!!!

 

Darren Kennedy & Kimberly Walsh
Otherwise I’ve been busy filming my series #Trending which kicks off this week with the first episode this Thursday evening (eeeek!).

D x

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My highlights of London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week has come and gone and I’m only just recovering. It was the usual running around town, dashing to shows (and the odd party!) as fashion’s finest showcased their latest wares for next spring 2015. A total of 83 designers took part in LFW but the highlights for me were Topshop and Burberry. Tom Ford put on the most sumptuous of evening shows where I spotted Anna Wintour and Bradley Cooper sitting cheek to cheek on the front row.

It’s not just all fancy frocks and the flash of paparazzi bulbs, it’s serious business, especially when you consider that fashion contributes over £26 billion and almost 800,000 jobs to the British economy.

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It wasn’t all womenswear however as I headed to Oxfordshire for the launch of the first GQ’s British Designers Collective at Bicester Village where the focus was firmly on menswear. The specially curated pop-up boutique houses an impressive selection of menswear including designers Jonathan Saunders, Casely-Hayford, Katie Eary and Hentsch Man – all hand-picked by gents at GQ. It was a stylish crowd with Sam Claflin, Finn Jones, Dylan Jones, Allen Leech, Rick Edwards all in attendance. Myself and my pal Youtuber Jim Chapman hit the shops afterwards for some serious shopping. There are some serious bargains to be had!

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On a different note, I was delighted to join a stellar line up of people including Graham Norton and Ross Kemp to support the ‘Books Are My Bag’ initiative.  A limited edition tote bag has been designed by British artist Tracey Emin, all to support local booksellers across the country.

The rest of my week involved a wind machine (more to come on that next week), shooting the campaign for my new ‘DK x LC’ suiting collection with tailor Louis Copeland and the start of filming for my upcoming new fashion series #Trending, which is all very exciting. So much so, I’m off to catch up on some much needed zzzzzzzz’s!

D x

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Meeting Hollywood hunk Mr. Gerard Butler

It’s fair to say I became the envy of women up and down the country this week as I got up close and personal with Hollywood hunk Mr. Gerard Butler. As the new face of the global Hugo Boss campaign #ManofToday, Gerard was in town for the UK launch which I was delighted to host in London’s Westfield.

To say he’s an utter gent is a total understatement. Funny, self-deprecating, personable and engaging, he was a fantastic interviewee and he really does personify modern masculinity. Recalling his first fragrance memories, he had the crowd bursting with laughter as he spoke of his teenage years growing up in Scotland and knicking his step-father’s precious Kouros aftershave, thinking he was the bees-knees. Definitely something I could relate to!

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On Wednesday, I made my way to Somerset House for the Specsavers AW14 Fashion Showcase. Some gorgeous new styles and designers including Karl Lagerfeld (!!!) were all showcased in the elegant surroundings of the Portico Rooms. I particularly enjoyed the balcony area – the views over the river were stunning! I was filming most of the day and got to catch up with the very lovely Lydia Bright from TOWIE who’s always such a pleasure to chat to.

At the Louis Vuitton event in the New Bond Street store, I had a good auld chinwag with the gorgeous Becca Dudley from MTV and the always dapper Jim Chapman. The knees-up marked the unveiling of their new Curated Shelf with writer and artist Harland Miller. Among the guests were Donna Air and James Middleton who caused quite the stir.

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Ahead of such a busy week, I managed to escape to the wilds of County Kerry in the homeland at the weekend. Shacking up (if you can call it that) at the rather sumptuous Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa overlooking the Lakes of Killarney, it was the perfect spot to escape to, unwind and get back in touch with nature ahead of a hectic week. The landscape truly is stunning in that part of the world. 

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Darren x

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Rochelle and Marvin Humes’ ice bucket challenge

There’s a real back-to-school feeling in the air so this week I hit Oxford Street with This Morning to film our best picks of the new season. Thankfully the sun was shinning but it didn’t last long.

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Back at the ITV studios the previous Friday, myself and Leo Bancroft teamed up for a surprise makeover on the gorgeous Denise Golightly who thought she was at This Morning to support her husband soldier Gaz who will compete in next month’s Invictus Games. Little did she know, she had been duped, and lined up for a makeover. In rehearsals Rochelle Humes managed to get some nice photo-bombing action in! At the end of the show Rochelle and Marvin bravely took up the ice-bucket challenge live on air.

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I hightailed it back to Dublin afterwards where I was hosting Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year Irish final. Earlier this year Specsavers staff from all across Ireland launched the search to discover the nation’s most fabulous specs wearer. The night saw eight finalists battle it out to become the Irish winner, with avid specs wearer Jenny Keane, a 28-year-old identical twin, taking home the title of Ireland’s Spectacle Wearer of the Year. Jenny will go on to represent Ireland in the Grand Final taking place in London this October.

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We also had birthday celebrations in my house – my little Harry, a teacup Yorkie, turned 8 years last week. He’s been with us since he was 6 weeks old and he’s barely changed a day… he’s still tiny and so full of character!

Darren x

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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is the most beautiful woman ever

It’s been another busy few weeks which involved gawking at Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s never ending legs, a charity fundraiser with the British Fashion Council and I even managed to squeeze in a few days holiday!

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If you’re looking for denim inspiration then listen up. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was back in town for the launch of Europe’s first Paige Shop at Selfridges’ Denim Studio. As the new face of the brand, Rosie flew in from her adopted home LA with Paige owner, and former model, Paige Adams-Geller. Rosie looked stunning (as in the most beautiful woman I think I’ve ever seen in the flesh) choosing to wear the eye-catching Indio Zip ultra skinny in blue galaxy coating.

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I was also delighted to attend the Future of Fashion charity event in aid of the Prince’s Trust Million Makers scheme held at the Café Royal’s Pompadour suite (not too shabby for Monday eve!) in conjunction with the BFC and Parsons School of Design in New York. Alexis Knox was on the decks while Former T4 presenter June Sarpong welcomed guests to celebrate the book launch of ‘The School of Fashion: 30 Parsons Designers by Simon Collins’. The beautifully illustrated tome features sketches and interviews with famous alumni including Proenza Schouler, Donna Karan and Alexander Wang.

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In between filming for This Morning, I got to indulge in some new fashion finds. 29 year old Joshua Kane is without doubt one of London’s most exciting young tailors and he’s quite the character to boot. Having cut his teeth as a designer at Burberry Prorsum, Jaeger and Paul Smith, Joshua is rapidly establishing himself as a ground-breaking tailor. His recently opened first tailoring shop in Old Spitalfields Market is a must-visit for any fans of a fine suit.

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It wasn’t all work and no play however as I managed to escape to Barcelona for some much needed R&R!

Darren x

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Hillary Clinton was an extraordinary guest to meet

Hillary Clinton for President! I never imagined I’d get that excited about meeting Mrs. Clinton (or Madame Secretary as she was to be addressed) but when she came into This Morning last week it seems no one in the building could contain their excitement, me included. With serious looking security agents dressed in black suits and speaking into their sleeves all over the place, it was like something straight out of a Hollywood movie, so it was hard not to be enthusiastic.

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Hillary proved to be the most extraordinary guest with such charisma and personality. It was great to see her banter with Eamonn and Ruth. For our fashion item that morning, we’d taken our lead from her love of the “pantsuit” and I managed to have a quick chat with her afterwards about her style. She was wearing a gorgeous fit and flare speckled coat, which she told me was Louis Vuitton and the look was “the next stage of the pantsuit”… she liked “how it nipped in at the waist and flared over the tummy area”. She looked great!

I also popped along to House Festival with Grey Goose Vodka out in Richmond. I’d never been before so had no idea what to expect but OMG, it’s my new favourite festival! Paloma Faith, Sam Smith, Hozier, De La Soul and Kelis were all performing on what was the hottest day of the year so far.

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The Irish Derby also took place at the weekend in the Curragh Co. Kildare so I was back on home turf for that. Millie Mackintosh was judging best dressed (with the winner bagging a prize worth over €20k!). She looked super classy in a pastel pink Victoria Beckham number. I broke out a navy double-breasted check suit from my latest Darren Kennedy for Louis Copeland SS14 collection. It was a great day but I didn’t win a penny!

Darren x

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The latest in men’s fashion at London Collections: Men, a trip to the seaside, a new store launch…

The latest in men’s fashion at London Collections: Men, a trip to the seaside, a new store launch, it all happened this past week.

I had A LOT of fun over London Men’s Fashion Week, otherwise known as London Collections: Men (LC:M). Quite apart from the copious amounts of champagne, cocktails and canapés swishing around, LC:M is a whole lot more enjoyable than it’s female sibling London Fashion Week. Is it just because men tend not to take it all too seriously? Who knows…

Decked out in Topman at the Topman Design show

Decked out in Topman at the Topman Design show

Officially kicking off on Sunday, it was a packed three-day schedule of shows and parties, so I’ll stick with the highlights. Topman Design always pushes the boat out in terms of design and the show space. Their latest was a psychedelic collection of 70’s influences, pushing flared faded jeans and trousers. Although, I’m not sure I’m ready to ditch my slim-fits just yet. One of my favourite Brit designers, Katie Eary who previously worked with Kanye West, also had a distinct retro vibe to her latest offerings.

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At the Esquire & DKNY MEN official opening party, Grimmy was spinning the tunes with Jessie J (wearing a gorg pink jacket and matching shorts combo), Lindsay Lohan, Mollie King, Reggie Yeats, Jourdan Dunn all hitting the dance floor. Jessie J couldn’t resist showing off her ‘selfie skills’ (she won an award for them apparently!) to fellow singer Wretch 32 and myself.

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I’m a massive Tom Ford fan so you can image my excitement when I was invited to attend his presentation. Tom chooses to eschew a runway show, instead opting for a more intimate presentation where he personally talks through each look. He was as charming as ever but more casual than I was expecting wearing a pair of jeans, boots, shirt, layered with an outdoor style jacket (all Tom Ford of course!).

Joe Dempsie and me

Joe Dempsie and me

To celebrate the close of LC:M, GQ Style teamed up with British brand Dunhill to host a cocktail party at the brand’s flagship Bourdon House in Mayfair. It was a beautiful evening where along with the likes of David Furnish, David Gandy, Luke Evans, Nick Grimshaw, Jesse Metcalfe, Oliver Cheshire and Pixie Lott, we sipped cocktails al fresco and toasted what was another brilliantly successful LCM. I also got to catch up with Game of Thrones star, the very affable, Joe Dempsie who had me laughing, a lot!

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In between all the LC:M madness, I made my first trip to the Essex seaside with This Morning where we had great fun filming my sunglasses surgery. Never a dull moment, it was straight back to Dublin where I cut the ribbon at the launch of TK Maxx’s brand new flagship store.

Now, I’m off for a nap!

Darren x

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Hanging out with Laura Whitmore and Michael Flatley on This Morning

Tuesday’s This Morning suddenly got very Irish with Michael Flatley, Laura Whitmore and myself all on the show. I’m a big fan of Michael, he’s such a talented performer so it was great to finally meet him having watched him pound the boards several times in the past. It’s hard to believe River Dance celebrated its 20th anniversary in April.

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By the way, if you’re looking for a summer hat but don’t know which style to choose then watch back my masterclass in hat shopping for every occasion, copy the link below. We featured some great head-toppers!

http://www.itv.com/thismorning/style-beauty/summer-fashion-hats-darren-kennedy

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The first ever Pride of Ireland Awards were held on Tuesday evening in Dublin’s Mansion House. Una Foden was on hosting duties and guests included Christine Bleakley, Louis Walsh, Carol Voderman, Imelda May, and Shane Filan. Unfortunately my flight didn’t land in time so I missed the show. But it turns out I should have travelled over with Carol Voderman who piloted her own aircraft over to Dublin… what a woman!

I finally got to escape this weekend for some much needed R&R at the Powerscourt Hotel. Powerscourt is one of the most scenic and historic estates in Ireland, located in County Wicklow, which is aptly called the Garden of Ireland. I even made some equine friends!

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Two days of blissful respite and glorious sunshine mean I’m feeling fighting fit and ready to take on the world this week. Hope you have a great one!

Darren x

 

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My night at the BAFTAs

It’s only Tuesday and already it feels like I’ve put in a full week… but in good way. In the past 7 days, I’ve taken six flights, all in the name of work, but it’s been an exciting week (btw if you need tips on traveling light, I’m your man!). Arriving back in London on Sunday morning, I went straight to a photography studio in Shoreditch where I was doing a shoot for super cool US publication Flaunt magazine. The LA-based monthly covers cutting-edge fashion culture and entertainment, and this September they’re celebration their 15th anniversary so it’s very cool to be a part of that special edition.

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As soon as we wrapped, I headed straight to the Corinthia hotel who hosted the official BAFTA style partners, such as MAC and Carat London, in a glamorous suite where the nominees and awards presenters were preened and beautified (with a glass of bubbly in hand of course!). All suited and booted, it was off to the Theatre Royal for the awards ceremony. The red carpet was a frenzy of paparazzi light bulbs and fans screaming as stars such as Jamie Dornan, Davina McCall and Breaking Bad’s Arron Paul started to arrive. Inside Graham Norton kept us all suitably entertained as he hosted proceedings with typical humour and warmth.

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With the awards wrapped it was off to the Grosvenor hotel where dinner was served and more importantly the afterparty took place. Marvin Humes was on the decks and banging out some great tunes. I had great fun catching up with Laura Whitmore, Amanda Byram and Gizzi Erskine. But the highlight of the night for me was getting to chat with broadcasting legends Sir Bruce Forsyth and the very fabulous Cilla Black who received the ‘Special’ Award for her career which has spanned the past 50 years, what a women!

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In terms of style, the red carpet was quite tame but I thought everyone put their best foot forward. My best dressed on the night, with out a shadow of a doubt, goes to the very gorgeous and lovely Rochelle Humes who gave a master class in less-is-more styling wearing a monochrome gown by Safiyaa London. The dancing went on into the wee hours but it was carriages early (relatively speaking) for me as I was up early to join Phillip and Holly on This Morning. Fun times!

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