Tuesday 30 May 2017

Student's gown has Florence in a flutter

Donegal student Oliver Doherty, one of six finalists in a competition to design a dress for singer
Florence Welch (inset, at the Q awards in London yesterday). Left: Oliver’s design. PA
Donegal student Oliver Doherty, one of six finalists in a competition to design a dress for singer Florence Welch (inset, at the Q awards in London yesterday). Left: Oliver’s design. PA

Linda McGrory and Jason O'Brien

FLORENCE WELCH is arguably as well known for her style as her critically acclaimed music.

And an Irish fashion student made the shortlist in a competition to design a bespoke dress for the lead singer of indie superstars Florence and the Machine.

The stunning design by Oliver Doherty (19) was deemed strong enough to join five other finalists -- including designers from Britain, the US and China -- from more than 1,500 entries.

The Donegal teenager's work will feature in a number of US fashion magazines. However, he fell just short of winning the competition to dress the singer for her upcoming performance at Terminal 5 in New York.

"I did a lot of research into what (Florence) wears on stage and I discovered that black was her favourite colour and that she is interested in Grecian styling," he said. "I work a lot with structured pieces, so that inspired me."

The teenager said he was stunned when his flowing creation -- a black dress with embroidered and chiffon detail -- was first voted 50th in an online poll of 120 sketches.

He was then informed his design had been selected for the judge's choice.

Oliver received a call last Thursday from band stylist Aldene Johnson, who informed him that the singer loved his work. But the overall winner was London's Cristina Adami.

"It's all so surreal. I am still in shock that I ever got this far and I'm so grateful to the art and design staff at the college who guided me," he said.

Oliver, from Ballyharry, near Culdaff on the Inishowen peninsula, is in his first year of a higher national diploma course in textiles at the North West Regional College in Derry.

North West textiles lecturer Mary Harrigan said: "Oliver is well deserving of this recognition, as he works very hard."

Irish Independent

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