Punchestown 2012: Ladies face tough fashion challenge
PHILIP Treacy hats taking off spectacularly like flying saucers and ladies struggling to tame inverted umbrellas behaving like spirited stallions.
The second day of the Punchestown Festival produced some tough fashion challenges for the style brigade but the prospect of winning a Coast shopping trip to New York, Madrid and London pulled out the stalwarths yesterday who weren't put off by driving wind and rain.
There was a palpable pioneering spirit amongst the diehard race-goers, determined to enjoy themselves in spite of the weather. Owners and trainers joined punters and bookies to doff their hats and offer encouraging words for the brave fashionistas who turned on the glamour.
With reduced numbers and a late start, many had strategic hopes of winning the daily competition and zipping through to Friday's finals, when the overall winner clinches the €10,000 Coast prize, heading off on the international shopping spree with a friend.
Resolve and resilience paid off and in the end it was local nurse, Louise Keatley (23) from Ballytore, Co Kildare, who won the €1,000 prize from a field of six rather than 12 finalists.
Twenty-four hours earlier, the 23-year-old was on duty on the wards of Naas hospital but she swopped her uniform and sensible flats for a winning designer-meets-high street ensemble in black and toffee.
The statuesque brunette displayed a savvy approach of mixing lux with fast fashion, and while her Closet dress was a bargain buy from the Buy Design outlet at Crookstown, she went for a designer jacket from the Elaine Curtis boutique in Carlow, Ted Baker shoes and Zara bag from the high street and an umbrella from Newbridge Silverware.
But her winning card was taking advice from best- dressed' racing veteran Faith Amond who made Louise's stand-out toffee coloured felt hat with its flagpole peacock feather.
It's those little details that make contestants stand out in the crowd and Roscommon sisters, Martha (left) and Louise Lynn both made it through to yesterday's finals, both also wearing hats from Martha's spring summer 2012 collection which sell at Project 51 in South William Street.