Tuesday 27 September 2016

IFTA awards - Hey girls, next time take a risk?

The style was pretty - but conservative - at last night's IFTA awards, writes Constance Harris

Constance Harris

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Natalie Dormer pictured on the Red Carpet before the IFTA awards. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Natalie Dormer pictured on the Red Carpet before the IFTA awards. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Evanna Lynch. Photo: Michael Chester
Charlie Murphy. Photo: Michael Chester
Eva Birthistle. Photo: Michael Chester
Victoria Smurfit. Photo: Michael Chester
Bob Geldof, his wife Jeanne Marine and Liam Neeson. Photo: Michael Chester
Van Morrison toasts Roma Downey. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

The word on the street last night was that only a complete fool didn't use their ticket to attend the Irish Film and Television (IFTA) awards as the gorgeous Liam Neeson was in attendance to receive an award for his 'Outstanding Contribution to Cinema'.

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Presented by comedienne Deirdre O'Kane, herself an IFTA award winner, last night's IFTAs were held in the Round Room of the Mansion House, where the first Dail Eireann was held in January 1919.

Style-wise, those early to arrive at the Mansion House tended towards classic black. Fashion's hotly tipped trends for this season of clashing digital prints, cut-out back and shoulders, OTT fringing and strapless were virtually nowhere to be seen.

Only Natalie Dormer, who wore a divine backless, silver lurex dress, played the part of attending a glamorous media event.

Disappointingly, I didn't see many Irish-designed ensembles, nor Brown Thomas mega-brands, such as Erdem or Dolce & Gabanna.

Miriam O'Callaghan at least wore Irish, sporting a dramatic blue gown by the New York-based Irish designer, Don O'Neill for Theia. Joan Bergin wore Louise Kennedy.

For the most part, the style at IFTA 2016 favoured colour blocking - head to toe, one colour.

A few gals did attempt to channel Veronica Lake in their ambition to look 'good enough', which is always a good tack to take if doing long, lean and plain.

Actress Evanna Lynch wore an aubergine coloured bustier-style gown and looked striking.

Charlie Murphy of Rebellion fame wore a cute black vintage dress which, she told the Sunday Independent, she is donating to Down Syndrome Ireland.

The ladies at the IFTAs who dressed in black looked cool. Those in green looked pretty damn fabulous.

Sabina Higgins wore a divine bottle-green lace dress, as always getting the tone of the event exactly right. Eva Birthistle killed it in her vintage-inspired, jade green full-length gown.

It has to be said, playing safe, a very Irish behaviour at big events, largely means you avoid the 'worst dressed' lists - and it is a price Irish stars are willing to pay, even if they don't reach the 'best dressed' lists either.

But all publicity is good, surely? Cate Blanchett, who is fashion-fearless and generally approved of, got it dramatically wrong recently with a very fringed, very pink ensemble by Givenchy, which she sported at the Golden Globes. This is my case in point - she got tons of column inches.

Elsewhere, away from the red carpet, Hollywood heavyweight Liam Neeson brought the city to a standstill when he arrived at the prestigious awards.

The critically acclaimed actor was there to accept the IFTA Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Award - in recognition of his celebrated 30-year career in cinema.

The Antrim native has played larger-than-life characters, such as Oskar Schindler, Michael Collins, Rob Roy and Zeus. President Michael D Higgins presented the distinguished actor - who tragically lost his wife, English actress Natasha Richardson, following a severe skiing accident in 2009 - with his award.

The big winner was Room, scooping Best Film, Best Script, Best Director, Editing and Original Music.

Sunday Independent

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