Saturday 27 December 2014

Young Irish designer grabs attention of political elite in US

Published 19/03/2014 | 02:30

US ambassador Anne Anderson in a dress design by Laura-Jayne Halton pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in New York this week. Picture: Marty Katz
US ambassador Anne Anderson in a dress design by Laura-Jayne Halton pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in New York this week. Picture: Marty Katz
Designer Laura-Jayne and (inset) her dress

A YOUNG IRISH designer who first came to prominence at last year's Oscars has now caught the attention of Washington's political elite.

Laura-Jayne Halton (29) was over the moon when her design was worn by Ireland's first woman Ambassador to the US during the St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Anne Anderson wore the custom-made olive green design as she spent the day escorting Taoiseach Enda Kenny to high-profile meetings. The day saw the Ambassador socialising with America's political leaders – including a White House event with President Obama.

Much to the delight of the designer, the dress was also featured in the 'Washington Post' newspaper's 'Style' section after the new Ambassador cut a dash during the festivities.

"She's the type of woman I love to dress, strong and confident. She's Ireland's first woman Ambassador and President Obama referenced that in his speech. It was such an honour to dress her," she added.

The designer, based in Maynooth, Co Kildare, revealed how creating the dress came down to the wire after the Ambassador only made contact a matter of weeks ago.

"I was really flattered she wanted me to dress her but it led to all-nighters and some panic. She basically wanted a daywear piece which was suitable for meetings but also to extend into evening events. So we went with an olive-green woolen cashmere design.

"I got to work immediately, finished it on Monday, fed-exed it Tuesday and she wore it on Friday. She emailed me saying she was delighted with the piece. She couldn't believe how good the fit was considering we hadn't met. She sent me her measurements and we worked off sketches," she added.

The young designer has seen work flourish since her dress was worn to the Oscars last year by Irish hopeful Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly.

She has been inundated with work ever since and now hopes this latest opportunity will see her client base grow even further.

Irish Independent

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