- Lifestyle & Sports
- 05 May 16
From her workplace in Co. Cork, Tina Hemlock Coyle is rapidly putting Elizabeth Christina Design on the millinery map
Launched in 2013, Elizabeth Christina Design is a multi-award winning millinery label, based two miles outside Kinsale, in Co. Cork. From a private studio, just a stone’s throw away from her hometown, Tina Hemlock Coyne works on creating stunning headpieces, as photographed here.
“Design has always been in my blood,” says Tina. “My mother and grandmother were gifted when it came to dressmaking, pattern making, knitting and crochet. As a child I'd watch fascinated, as my mum would take dresses she felt needed updating and redesign them into a new creation – so for me it came naturally.”
In order to hone her skills, Tina completed a diploma in fashion design and creative studies at Cork College of Fashion Design. She next took an apprenticeship in visual display and visual styling in what was then Cash’s of Cork – now Brown Thomas. She subsequently spent 16 years working in visual display and styling, before a personal milestone marked the start of her millinery career.
“In 2012, I got married,” she smiles. “I wanted a very specific type of headpiece, and searched every website and bridal store to no avail. The day I picked up my wedding dress, my mum simply said, ‘If you can’t find the headpiece you want, why not make it?’
“I came home from London with my dress and designed my headpiece. When we returned from our honeymoon I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was time for a career change. My passion for millinery was born. I took courses with two amazing traditional milliners – Lina Stein and Carol Maher – and my fate was sealed. By April 2013 I had walked away from my secure, well-paid job, taken a huge leap of faith – and launched my millinery label under my full birth name. A few months later, Elizabeth Christina Design was accepted as a member of the Crafts Council of Ireland.”
In 2013, having been in business for a mere three months, her headpieces were featured on the biggest wedding site in the world, Style Me Pretty – and stockists came flocking. In 2014, Tina won Milliner of the Year at the Kerry Fashion Designer Awards, followed quickly by winning Fashion Designer of the Year 2014 at the Tia Maria Hi Style Awards. A year later, Elizabeth Christina Design was a regular pick for the judges at Ladies’ Days, and the winning streak continued with The Kilkenny Shop Style Award 2015 and a gong for Best Dressed at Naas Races 2016!
Influenced by Tina’s love of old-world Hollywood glamour, Elizabeth Christina Design headpieces are timeless and classic. “My favourite film is Gone With The Wind, and I love actresses like Vivien Leigh and Greta Garbo: beautiful, strong women, but always elegant and exuding glamour. For inspiration I adore Irish designer Don O’Neill. I met him when I won at The Kerry Fashion Designer Awards: his designs recapture the opulence and elegance of that old Hollywood glamour.”
Tina is currently working on new designs for Ascot 2016, Galway Races 2016 and A/W 2016, and – with an intriguing air of mystery – says she is “also very excited to be designing pieces for an A list celebrity for her 2017 engagements.”