Hilary O’Kelly


Hilary O’Kelly is a dress historian with a specialist interest in Ireland since the C18th. She teaches fashion and dress history and theory as part of the Critical Cultures programme offered by the School of Visual Culture to art and design students at NCAD and also on the Design History and Material Culture MA.

Hilary's book Cleo: Irish Clothes in a Wider World - a study of one of Dublin's oldest clothing businesses - was published by Associated Editions in 2014. She has written on Celtic Revival dress, contributing an essay to an early and key book in the historiography of dress and fashion history and theory, Chic Thrills. A Fashion Reader edited by Juliet Ash and ‎Elizabeth Wilson (1992). She has also published on the role played by National Revival dress in Irish revolutionary politics in Making 1916: the visual and material culture of the Easter Rising edited by Lisa Godson and Joanna Brück (2015) and an essay entitled  'Parcels from America: American Clothes in Ireland, c.1930–1980' in Alexandra Palmer and Hazel Clark (eds), Old Clothes, New Looks: Second Fashion (2005).

Hilary is a regular public speaker at venues like Crawford Art Gallery and as guest lecturer on the Fine and Decorative Arts Diploma Course offered by the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers. Recently she contributed a talk on ‘Dress in Our Boys in the Independence Period, c.1910-40’ to the Art and Reality: The Role of Visual Culture in the post-independent state conference organised by UCD Art History and NIVAL in 2018. (It can be heard as a podcast here).