Sunday 24 September 2017

Celia Holman Lee's style is more in-demand than Kate Middleton, reveals Irish milliner

Celia Holman Lee at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods
Celia Holman Lee at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods
Carol Kennelly.
Celia Holman Lee
Aoife Walsh wearing a headpiece by Carol Kennelly
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

When it comes to the hat game, few wear it better than Kate Middleton.

The Duchess of Cambridge has inspired a generation of women to experiment with headpieces, but according to a top Irish milliner, style icon Celia Holman Lee is the most requested look.

Carol Kennelly said that the former model turned tv personality has the style her clients most want to emulate.

"Mothers of the bride always try to emulate Celia, she always wears age appropriate clothing and always looks fabulous,." Carol told Independent.ie Style. Girls in their 20s wouldn’t have that figure!

Carol Kennelly and Celia Holman Lee wearing #CarolKennellyMillinery @ the #GalwayRaces #theghotel #LadiesDay today.

A post shared by Carol Kennelly (@carol_kennelly) on

"She always gets it right, there's a reason she’s won those style awards for years and years. She knows what works for her and she embraces it.

"She goes for elegance and when you’re paying a lot of money for an outfit, you want to know it can go into the wardrobe and you can still wear it in five years."

Kennelly is in the middle of her busiest time of the year - her summer calendar means a seemingly endless array of racing events, culminating in Ladies Day at the Dublin Horse Show on Thursday.

And when it comes to your headwear, don't be afraid to be bold.

"I think it always starts with the hat, of course I’m in the business of hats. A hat is number one, it can make or break and outfit. The right hat on the right person can make them feel taller, slimmer, stronger and a more confident version of themselves," she said.

"It has to reflect your personality. If you’re demure, your hat should show that, but a demure hat doesn’t discount you from doing well at something like the Horse Show. "

Aoife Walsh wearing a headpiece by Carol Kennelly
Aoife Walsh wearing a headpiece by Carol Kennelly

Hats are very addictive, people who have never worn them, start smaller and they buy bigger as their confidence grows. A more shy person often enjoys the positive attention that comes with it."

There's been a notable increase in the spread of hairbands and crowns with younger women, keen to incorporate a more youthful edge to their look, but "individuality is what sells", she adds, "My customers constantly looking for something hadn’t been seen before."

Something we definitely haven't seen before is a bright and bold piece designed especially for tomorrow's event, sponsored by Dundrum Town Centre, so it's only fitting that Kennelly took inspiration from gardener Diarmiud Gavin's installation there for her latest piece.

"My inspiration was based on Diarmuid and his inspiration and coincidentally his was Willy Wonka, which is my all-time favourite movie," she added.

"It’s playful and whimsical and I embraced that."

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