State Visits

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Sabina offers support to fashion designers making way in world

Niamh Horan at Buckingham Palace

Published 10/04/2014|02:30

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PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins met deputy prime minister Nick Clegg at Buckingham Palace for a private chat.

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Joined by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, they discussed the President's visit to the hospital earlier that day and the events of the week.

The meeting took place in the 1844 room, which is traditionally used by visitors to the palace.

Earlier, the President's wife, Sabina Higgins, attended a number of events around London.

In the early afternoon she visited the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), where she was given a tour of the centre's workshop that has played host to actors such as Richard Attenborough and Peter O'Toole.

Wearing a royal blue dress by Caractere, she was met at the event by her children Alice Mary and John, who also took part in the tour.

She was also joined by Peter O'Toole's daughter, Kate.

Afterwards, Mrs Higgins travelled to the Irish embassy where she met with a number of Irish fashion designers, including Louise Kennedy, Simone Rocha and Paul Costelloe.

Other guests included Orla Kiely, Una Burke, Derek Lawlor, Sorcha O Raghallaigh, Melissa Curry, Danielle Romeril, and JW Anderson.

Gretta Mulhall, wife of the Irish ambassasor, hosted the private lunch for 40 guests at the embassy to celebrate established and emerging Irish fashion talent in London.

During her speech, Mrs Higgins acknowledged the Irish designers in the room and gave her support to the industry.

Kennedy, who has designed several outfits for Sabina's state visit, explained the significance of the event: "It's so important for the Irish fashion industry in London. London is . . . your platform for the international market."

Guests enjoyed a tortilla goat's cheese starter with spring leaves and chilli relish before moving on to a lemon sole fillet with confit of orange, new potatoes and broccoli. A raspberry crepe brulee finished off the meal.

Speaking afterwards, young fashion designer Simone Rocha spoke of her delight at attending the event: "It's really wonderful to get to sit with Sabina and have lunch with her. I've been following the events on the news but it's surreal to actually be here."

Speaking about the attention her work has generated in recent months, she said: "I feel lucky but try not to think about it too much. I was educated in Ireland in NCAD, so it's great to bring a part of home to London and to forge a path for myself here."

Meanwhile, Dermott Rowan, managing director and co-owner of Kiely Rowan, the company that owns the fashion brands Orla Kiely and Olive & Orange, spoke of the importance of nurturing similar young Irish talent:

"I think we need to appreciate the NCAD and the colleges, we need to make sure that the pool of new young talent is coming out and that we are nurturing it so that we can create employment."

Irish Independent

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