Denise is first past the post in fashion stakes
FASHION fan Denise Healy from Two Mile stole the limelight from her rather well-known fiance last week after she was named the 2014 Dawn Milk Queen of Fashion at Killarney Races.
Denise is engaged to Kerry footballer Aidan O'Mahony and the couple are to marry next year. And while Aidan is set to test the turf in Croke Park in the coming weeks, it seems that Denise is pretty good on the turf back home after picking up a trip for two to Paris for her troubles.
"Aidan was delighted for me, of course, but he joked that I shouldn't let it go to my head," Denise said with a smile this week.
"Unfortunately he wasn't able to come along last Thursday as he had training with Kerry. He says he hasn't got long left, so he really wants to make the most of it this year," Denise added.
Denise sported a striking monochrome outfit on the day, featuring an off-the-shoulder black and white striped top, black Reiss capri pants, over-sized black hat from Debenhams and shoes from Dune, all tied together with a striking white ribbon.
"It really came as a surprise when they announced the winner as I knew I was taking a risk wearing capri slacks but it paid off," she revealed.
"I didn't put too much thought into it as things just come naturally to me but I was definitely helped in some way by my mother, Mairead, who died two years ago. She always picked out what I wore for the races so I would consider her my style icon. I also couldn't remember what I said during my interview on the day but my sister said I was speaking just like my mother, so she was definitely guiding me," she added.
Style obviously runs in the family – Denise's sister, Moira Greer, was also selected as one of the 20 finalists.
Judges on the day were RTE presenter Kathryn Thomas and current Rose of Tralee Haley O'Sullivan. Denise said she got on famously with both judges, particularly Kathryn whose grandmother, Margaret Keane, won the Queen of Fashion in 1960.
"I found her very grounded – I met her afterwards up at the Aghadoe Heights and we just clicked. I said that people will be wondering about this year's winner wearing slacks but Kathryn just said to tell people that it was an outfit that she would choose herself."
A past pupil of Two Mile NS and the Intermediate School Killorglin, Denise has a degree in Business and Risk Management and a Business and Finance Masters from Amsterdam University. She works as a language co-ordinator with Castle Education at IT Tralee.
Meanwhile, winner of the Dawn Milk Most Stylish Hat was Tipperary primary school teacher Ellen O'Donnell who won a trip for two to Milan with Margaruite Brosnan from Killarney runner up.
First runner-up in the Dawn Milk Queen of Fashion was Christine Hegarty from Killarney who wore a floral vintage dress with a cream pearl headpiece.
In keeping with the Kerry designer connection, Neidin Hats from Kenmare made a stunning headpiece for Kathyrn Thomas, designed by Kim Kennedy and Chris O Siochru.