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 (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.
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."
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.
"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.
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.
The show will bring together the collections of some of Ireland's leading designers including Simone Rocha, Deborah Veale and Sharon Hoey.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1890 301 501.