Style Fashion

Friday 19 September 2014

Manhattan sidewalk mum was a star on the catwalk in her Irish fashion days

Published 28/02/2014 | 02:30

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Polly in her modelling days
Polly in her modelling days
Cian McCourt posted this photo on Twitter, saying: "Thanks to everyone for all the messages and support. Time for us to get some rest and look after the kids. Thanks all"
Polly in her modelling days
Polly in her modelling days

IF READERS were a little surprised by how calm and composed Polly McCourt looked after the trauma of giving birth on the pavement outside her New York home, there's a reason.

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Pollyanna Robinson – as she was known in Dublin fashion circles – was a busy model in Ireland and the UK before she settled down to raise a family and moved to the upper east side of New York City.

"Polly was a bit of a supermodel," recalls Jules Fallon of 1st Option Model Agency, who acted as her Irish agent in the noughties.

She was a busy international model who counted a coveted cover on 'Marie Claire' magazine as one of her career successes.

The 39-year-old worked with the top London agency M&P before moving to work in Ireland, after she met her Irish boyfriend, Cian McCourt (40) from Foxrock.

She made headlines around the world this week after a TV camera crew captured footage of her giving birth to a little girl on a New York sidewalk.

The mother-of-three went into labour in her apartment, but only made it as far the pavement before she had to be helped through the birth by passers-by.

The couple later decided to give their baby Illa the middle name Isabelle, the name of a Good Samaritan who gave Polly her coat while she waited for an ambulance.

What many readers probably didn't realise yesterday is that she regularly graced the pages of the Irish Independent in years past.

With her glossy, Audrey Hepburn looks and a sunny disposition, Polly was one of the busiest, most requested models on the Irish fashion scene.

"She was class from head to toe, I always booked her and loved working with her, " said couturier Richard Lewis.

"It was funny because one of my clients told me that her son's girlfriend was a model but I didn't catch the name and it was only afterwards that I discovered that she was talking about Polly, who I always made a point of booking for my shows," said Richard.

Polly became a popular feature on the Irish modelling scene because of her versatility. She could do editorials and catwalk shows, and the world of advertising loved the gamine beauty who possessed a great ability to act in front of the camera.

Even the dreaded open air photocalls – usually in sub-zero temperatures – never fazed the British model. Polly could morph her looks several times a day, starting the day in girl-next-door shorts, doing an advert at lunchtime and finishing the night on a catwalk show in sophisticated silk jersey.

Mignon, MD of M&P model agency in London, recalled how "Polly was always very, very busy because she was so good. She could do commercials, editorials and she was a great actress, plus she was really lovely to work with."

In Dublin, Jules Fallon recalled how Polly wanted to raise her children herself so, after Conor was born, she gave up modelling and later had her daughter Edel.

The arrival of her second daughter, Ila Isabelle made her front page news and a TV celebrity across America after the dramatic birth of her daughter.

"They're calling it the miracle of 68th Street. I can't wait to get on the phone to her and catch up," said Jules.

Irish Independent

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