Tanya McGilligan On Turning A Passion Into A Business

Turning an interest in fashion into a business felt very natural for TANYA MCGILLIGAN. A glimpse into her pretty home and wardrobe reveals how STYLE IS SECOND NATURE


Most of us dream of turning our passions into a business venture but unlike many, Tanya McGilligan, who used to work for an estate agency, just went ahead and did it. “I always had an interest in beautiful clothes and accessories and felt that it was something I could develop as a business,” says the owner and founder of just-launched online fashion boutique, style-ikon.com, over coffee in the deep blue (Bamiyan Blue matte emulsion by Fired Earth) kitchen of her Georgian home.


Above (on hanger): Anthracite raffia peplum top, €418, Ter et Bantine. Butterfly peplum top, s479; matching pencil skirt, €328; both Lie Sang Bong.   

“It seemed to me there were only a handful of places to buy something stylish and of good quality and there was an over-emphasis on very recognisable designers.” So off she went to Paris and Milan to discover interesting designers not yet represented in Ireland, using her own style instincts to select a handful of the best.“The designers I sourced are innovative and use beautiful fabrics, yet their clothes are not terribly expensive.” Take Lie Sang Bong, for instance, a Korean designer, whose dresses are precisely constructed and made from beautiful patterned silk. Or Ter et Bantine, by Spanish designer Manuela Arcari. Playful wedges in a range of colours by Pamela Barcelo have satified McGilligan’s search for the perfect summer shoe.


Above: McGilligan’s double-fronted Regency home is packed with antiques. In the drawing room there is an array of finds like this elegant silk-covered French occasional chair and a pair of George III gilded wall sconces. 

Her home, in the heart of Monkstown village in south Dublin, where she lives with her Dutch husband Adriaan Waiboer, reveals another side to her personal style and another passion: for collecting and display. The Regency villa, once her parents’ home, is brimming with a pretty mix of antiques and treasures handed down from her mother, grandmother and aunts. “My greatest extravagance was a yellow Marni coat. I hang most of my clothes and I use tissue paper between each folded piece. Shoe boxes are great for storing gloves and accessories.”


Above: A black 1960s Dior clutch inherited from an aunt. The American Indian print Dior bustier is from Susan Hunter’s boutique in the Westbury Mall in Dublin.

The drawing room at the front of the house is now home to her SS13 collections (although the site has only just launched, clients have already requested private styling sessions and these will take place here) while the airy living room overlooking the terrace at the back of the house, painted in an unusual shade of Wild Olive matte emulsion by Fired Earth, houses some overflow. In the home office, a selection of framed family pictures  include some of her glamorous mother, McGilligan’s own style icon. “My mother was a very glamorous woman, always chic and groomed. Even when gardening she would look impeccable. She taught me that looking elegant is worth the effort.”

Images by Philip White

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our April issue, out Thursday April 7.

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