Sunday 24 September 2017

Wedding dresses fit for a princess

Add a regal touch to your wedding day, says Bairbre Power

'Eliza' silk satin gown, €2,995, Sharon
Hoey, 19 Upper Mount Street, Dublin
'Eliza' silk satin gown, €2,995, Sharon Hoey, 19 Upper Mount Street, Dublin
'Melody' silk satin, high-necked, beaded dress, €2,695, Sharon Hoey
'Lydia' white taffeta dress, €1,000, Eileen Abbott (071 965 1846), and Akoya cultured pearls, €480, Hartmann, Galway
Ivory duchess satin dress with grey silk belt, €650; headpiece, €70, both Dresscode at Hickey Fabrics
'Alexandra' dress, €2,000, Edel Tuite Bridal Design
Amy Huberman and Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: PA
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

No pressure about the dress, Kate, there will only be 2.5 billion people watching your every move and dissecting your choice with the finest of fashionable scalpels.

There were gasps of shock 30 years ago when Prince William's mother, Diana, emerged from her carriage outside St Paul's and the first glimpse of her silk taffeta dress revealed an unsightly mass of wrinkles.

The designer, Elizabeth Emanuel, told me only last year how she too was shocked at that moment and prayed that the creases would shake out once the dress was released from the pumpkin-style Cinderella chariot -- which they did.

Diana's gown, decorated with 10,000 pearls and a 25ft train, triggered a love affair with puffy, meringue dresses, and now the British fashion industry has its fingers crossed that Kate will turn into its saviour. Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen would certainly deliver a modern, contemporary silhouette, and Victoria Beckham has been tipped to make the evening outfit to be worn at Buckingham Palace.

Here in Ireland, actress Amy Huberman emerged as the pin-up bride last summer with an endearingly simple, strapless dress by Stephanie Allin, which she bought at Myrtle Ivory in Anne's Lane, Dublin. Amy's choice drew a line in the sand for the post-Celtic Tiger bride.

Thankfully, the race to buy exotica abroad has imploded and, this week, with royal wedding fever in the air, it's a perfect opportunity to look at the Irish wedding sector.

There is a decidedly glamorous feel to Sharon Hoey's latest collection, which is available at her salon on Upper Mount Street, and now that cream and white dresses have become all the rage at balls, these investment dresses will live to see another outing.

Dubliner Aoife Collins, the designer behind the Dresscode label, has developed her bridal range (averaging around €500) and there's a young feel to her ivory duchess gown with its grey belt. Available at Hickey Fabrics in Dublin and Lisboa in Cork.

The alternative bride will find rich pickings with Eilis Boyle at Bow Boutique in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. She's a perfect candidate for brides who want to say "I do" in something different. She has 15 styles and her knee-length cream lace dress with bows retails at €900.

I recently did a shoot at Galway's Meyrick Hotel, where Edel Tuite's cream, sunray pleated satin gown drew lots of admiring glances. It's full of drama but if you prefer something less formal, what about a wedding dress with pockets! Designer Eileen Abbot, from Mohill, Leitrim, was clever to feature them because they create a less formal gown.

Innovative milliner Emily-Jean O'Byrne, from Emily-Jean Designs on Augustine Street, Galway, can turn her pearl and crystal hair decoration into a brooch.

The designers at Celt Clan in the Tower, TCD Enterprise Centre on Pearse Street, will remodel old jewellery and transform it into a contemporary pieces at an affordable price. Their bespoke, gold filigree, Celtic-knot wedding rings (in 18k or 14k yellow gold) cost from €410 .

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