Tuesday 6 December 2016

Superstar milliner Philip Treacy: 'I've worked with women all over world but the Irish have a classic beauty'

Celebrated milliner Philip Treacy hails the Irish muse who inspired him 'when I was nothing', writes Niamh Horan

Published 24/04/2016 | 02:30

Philip Treacy and Iman
Philip Treacy and Iman
HAT’S MAGIC: Milliner to the stars Philip Tracey who crowned the heads of 66 guests at the wedding of Kate and Wills is busier than ever and has just released his new collection
Princess Beatrice Leaving Westminster Abbey After The Wedding Of Prince William And Kate Middleton
Sarah Jessica Parker wears a Philip Treacy hat
Philip Treacy

Philip Treacy (OBE) has hailed Irish women as 'among the most beautiful in the world' as he pays homage to his Irish muse ahead of a triumphant return to Dublin next Friday.

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The milliner to the stars-whose hats have graced princesses and supermodels and adorned the cover of Vogue magazine, has said Irish women need to be aware of their authentic beauty when comparing themselves to women worldwide.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent he said: "Irish women are among the most beautiful in the world. They are known for their beauty all over. They are renowned for it. But it is a different kind of beauty. It is a natural beauty," he said.

"It is not sort of a glossy beautiful; it is more authentic. Irish women are not known for their tans or mahogany skin tones," he said, "But the classic Irish beauty is red hair and also fair skin and blue eyes", he said, "which is everywhere in Ireland."

Philip Treacy
Philip Treacy

The designer also took the time to celebrate one of the most beautiful women he has encountered, the woman, who became his first muse and an inspiration for his work.

Speaking about Dublin woman Mari O'Leary he said: "She was the first supermodel that I ever encountered and she made a huge impression on me. When I was a student in Dublin, Mari was Ireland's answer to Linda Evangelista.

She was a very impressive model and she was very kind to me when I was a student. She was my first encounter with what a model is all about and she was the best.

Read more: Irish milliner Philip Treacy: 'Thousands and thousands of people hated the hat I designed for Princess Beatrice!'

HAT’S MAGIC: Milliner to the stars Philip Tracey who crowned the heads of 66 guests at the wedding of Kate and Wills is busier than ever and has just released his new collection
HAT’S MAGIC: Milliner to the stars Philip Tracey who crowned the heads of 66 guests at the wedding of Kate and Wills is busier than ever and has just released his new collection

"She was an excellent model and she was completely different to everyone else. She was there at the beginning of my fashion career so I learned that it is very difficult to be a good model.

"It is not easy. It is a performance. And she had a magic all of her own.

He added, 'she was very kind to me when I was nobody."

After 25 years of overwhelming success, Treacy still maintains his down to earth attitude.

Princess Beatrice Leaving Westminster Abbey After The Wedding Of Prince William And Kate Middleton
Princess Beatrice Leaving Westminster Abbey After The Wedding Of Prince William And Kate Middleton

When asked how he felt to see his renowned headpieces crowning the heads of no less than 66 guests at the Royal wedding of Kate and Wills, he said: "You feel tired. It is work. I am in the service industry and I am a hat maker."

Originally from Ahascragh, Co. Galway, the designer has lived in London for ten years, and has no plans to return to Ireland, describing the UK as "home now."

Asked how he feels when his hats create controversy, such as the headpiece of that worn by Princess Beatrice he replied simply, "It's just a hat."

Tracey returns this week to celebrate the historic centenary by taking part in the Lexus Irish Fashion Collective in the front square of Trinity College Dublin.

Sarah Jessica Parker wears a Philip Treacy hat
Sarah Jessica Parker wears a Philip Treacy hat

The show will bring together the collections of some of Ireland's leading designers including Simone Rocha, Deborah Veale and Sharon Hoey.

Read more: Meet Monaco's Kate Middleton - the impossibly chic new royal Beatrice Borromeo

The funds will go towards creating Ireland's first Dementia village at St Joseph's Shankill. Describing his motivation to take part in the event Treacy said: "I'm sort of booking in early for a place in that dementia village. Just in case- you never know.

"It is a disease, which affects everybody. It could be me.

"I know a few people [affected by dementia] and it is a devastating experience for both the person and the family because the person basically just slowly disappears."

An estimated 44,000 people in Ireland are currently living with some form of dementia.

The figure is expected to reach nearly 104,000 by 2037.

There are over 50,000 caregivers who care for their loved ones coping with dementia.

Tickets for the event are still available, priced €100, by contacting by contacting siobhan.grant@sjog.ie or calling 1890 301 501.

Sunday Independent

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