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Saturday 20 September 2014

Irish designer's hi-tech dress lights up the night

Bairbre Power and Chris Talbott

Published 12/02/2013 | 04:00

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Carrie Underwood in the ‘lightshow’ dress designed by Don O’Neill (inset) at the Grammy Awards
Carrie Underwood's dress lit up the stage as it became the screen for a digital light show
Carrie Underwood on the red carpet before the Grammys on Sunday night in a different gown.

IRISH designer Don O'Neill lit up the Grammy Awards with a showstopping dress which got everyone talking.

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The Kerryman's 'lightshow' gown, worn onstage during a performance by US country star Carrie Underwood, was the fashion highlight of the night.

The apparently simple, platinum grey ballgown – made from 100 yards of tulle and ten yards of Duchesse satin – lit up the stage as it became the screen for a digital light show.

A sea of orange butterflies, tumbling red roses and astral blue sparkles were projected on to the dress, which had a four-and-a-half foot crinoline skirt, and took a team of four more than 80 hours to fuse fashion with projection technology.

Country crooner Carrie – who shot to fame on 'American Idol' in 2004 – wore the Kerry designer's dress when singing 'Two Black Cadillacs' at the 55th Grammy Awards, and later she accepted the Grammy for best country solo performance for 'Blown Away'.

The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Gotye and Beyonce – whose two May shows at the O2 in Dublin sold out in less than 30 minutes this week – were among the big winners at the star-studded ceremony in LA's Nokia Theatre on Sunday.

Designer O'Neill (45), who comes from Ballyheigue, outside Tralee, Co Kerry, was besieged by well-wishers, and reaction to his dress went viral on websites and social media.

The exposure for his Theia label is pure gold for the designer, who had to work in McDonald's in Paris in the 1990s to keep his fashion dream alive.

"All the papers and websites here are buzzing about Carrie Underwood's showstopping lightshow gown," said Don.

Mumford & Sons wrapped up a completely unpredictable awards ceremony with perhaps the most surprising win of the night, taking home album of the year for 'Babel'.


Even the London folk-rockers were shocked when Adele, who won the trophy last year, presented her countrymen with the award.

"We figured we weren't going to win anything because The Black Keys have been sweeping up all day, rightfully so," Marcus Mumford said.

Dan Auerbach, of The Black Keys, ended up the night's top winner with four trophies, including producer of the year and three rock category victories with bandmate Patrick Carney.

But it was hardly a clean sweep as The Recording Academy's thousands of voters spread the love for the year's top singles.

Fun took home major awards, including best new artist, in something of an upset over R&B singer Frank Ocean, and song of the year for the transcendent anthem 'We Are Young', featuring Janelle Monae.

"I didn't think we were going to win this one," lead singer Nate Ruess said after the best new artist win. "Frank Ocean. The Lumineers. Everybody, amazing," he added.

Like Mumford & Sons, Gotye busted up the predictions, taking record of the year for 2012's top-selling single 'Somebody That I Used To Know,' featuring New Zealand's Kimbra, and he finished with three awards.

Prince, who was carrying a sparkly silver cane, presented him with the record of the year trophy, and the Australian paid tribute to the singer's influence.

Jay-Z and Kanye West had three wins – sharing one award with Ocean – along with electronica star Skrillex, and a slew of nominees had two wins apiece, including former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding.

The cast album for 'Once'– the musical based on the low-budget Irish film starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – won the best musical theatre album.

Irish Independent

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