Sunday 22 October 2017

Society: Young designer Aideen is one to watch, meeting Twiggy and the VIP Style Awards

Aideen Gaynor
Aideen Gaynor
Bernard Hanratty, Shelly Corkery & Vincent O'Gorman at the annual NCAD Fashion Show sponsored by Brown Thomas which took place at the Westbury Hotel. Photo: Anthony Woods.
Designer to watch: Aideen Gaynor and model Niamh McCormack. Photo: Anthony Woods.
Nicky Logue and Blaithnead Treacy at the annual Gibson Hotel Barbecue. Photo: Brian McEvoy.
1960s icon Twiggy with our fashion editor Bairbre Power.
Mary Ann O'Brien and Clodagh McKenna pictured at the launch of Lily O'Brien's first ever premium chocolate bars range in Medley, Fleet Street. Photo: Anthony Woods.
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina with Dr Brian McMahon Chairman of the Abbey Theatre on the opening night of Othello
Vicki Walsh, Sandra Walsh and Pauline Walsh. Photo by Robbie Reynolds
Marty Morrissey and twink arrive at the VIP Style Awards. Photo: Damien Eagers.
Marissa Carter and Roisin Tierney Crowe at The Peter Mark Vip Style Awards 2016
Sharon McGowan, Kirsty Blake Knox and Laura Butler at the VIP Style Awards. Photo: Damien Eagers.
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

I've never seen the Westbury's Marble Bar so packed of fashionistas and style queens, but then the annual NCAD graduate fashion show is one of the most keenly awaited events of the year. Competitive stores are there and their buyers have the specs on to spot the next big designing talent. Stylists too were in hawk-eye mode, wanting to zero in on amazing looks for upcoming shoots.

And in the middle of it all, the most relaxed looking of them all in the frenzy of anticipation was Shelly Corkery, the Brown Thomas Group Fashion Director.

Shelly had her work already done. She had gone up to NCAD and selected her winner for the BT'S €4k bursary and directors mentoring scheme, and all she had to do was enjoy the show and present the prize to Aideen Gaynor.

After the show in the five star hotel's carpark, we retired upstairs to The Gallery where Aideen (21) from Marino was the main focus of attention.

Aideen had lost her phone in all the post-announcement excitement and had yet to tell her mum, so I did what any mum would do, I handed her my phone and encouraged her to ring home. And judging from the excited sounds emanating from the other end of the line, Aideen's mum was thrilled.

Born in Brooklyn, the super talented young designer told me how she had interned with John and Simone Rocha. "They taught me so much," she said graciously. Aideen's father is the set director Neville Gaynor who, she explained, works on the TV series Penny Dreadful, which is shot in Ardmore.

Dad and daughter both share an interest in the Glaswegian artist, Christopher Dresser who is not to be confused with William Morris.

The BT team is certainly delighted to have the petite Aideen joining them at CReate which starts on July 5.

The NCAD show was quite remarkable because of how grown up and beautifully finished off the pieces were. Gone are the days of the OTT whacky outfits that photograph like a dream but that no one can wear.

I chatted with artist Helen Steele and we were discussing the model-turned-actress Caitriona Balfe, a talent who is on everyone's lips. She is quite fabulous in the Starz series, Outlander, and it turns out Caitriona is from down the road from Helen in Co Monaghan.

I have to hand it to Derek Daniels from Assets Model Agency, the man who first spotted Caitriona Balfe in a Dublin supermarket.

Twiggy, BBQ, ice cream - it's all in a day's work

Bairbre Power

Wednesday was a manic day for a diary writer with so many gigs on, so I resolved to start early, starting at 5am with a red eye to London to meet up with my ol' pal, Twiggy (pictured below).

The '60s icon is now designing a hugely successful lifestyle fashion range for M&S and we caught up at a preview of their AW16 collection which I wanted to step into there and then, because of the awful weather in London.

Then I dashed home to look in on the always hugely popular BBQ at the Gibson, where I enjoyed the food and marvelled at debonair grey loafers of the hotel's GM, Nicky Logue.

A quick dash over to the Shoe Garden at Arnotts for some Magnum dunking at their Release The Beast event hosted by the Thinkhouse team. I spotted Danielle Byrne, the other half of Dubliner heartthrob Cian O'Sullivan.

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1960s icon Twiggy with our fashion editor Bairbre Power.

Festival fever and foodie heaven

Kirsty Blake Knox

Take heed style-conscious festival-goers. This year crochet and fringing are out but bandanas and 'Bleachella' bobs are in.

Musicians and stylists ran through festival 'Dos and Don'ts' at Body and Soul's Midsummer Night's beats brunch.

The bash took place in cocktail bar The Chelsea Drug Store, where, contrary to what the Rolling Stones would have you believe, you can get what you want. Providing what you want is a steady flow of Absolut vodka and squares of cheese served on cocktail sticks.

Ladies with glitter smudged across their faces and ivy in their hair placed wreaths on our heads while dancers twirled about with colourful umbrellas. "It's all about the 'Bleachella' bob a la Taylor Swift," I was told. "And '70s vibes are big news - retro grunge."

Festival fever to one side, this week was a cornucopia of food-filled events.

People were chocolate-tasting, magnum ice cream-decorating, chardonnay-swilling and BBQ-grilling all over town.

Things kicked off with Barry's Tea Real Character luncheon in Chapter One. Michelin Chef Ross Lewis was in flying form and briefly stepped out of the kitchen to tell us all how he likes his tea.

"From Cork, loose leaf and strong," he said. "But I am a traditionalist."

The following night, a revamped Pichet restaurant threw open its doors. Model Roz Purcell was on hosting duties and handed out cocktails as guests made their way through the doors. "It's hopping," she exclaimed.

Across town, chocolatier and founder of Lily O'Brien's Mary Ann gave Willy Wonka a run for his money when she hosted a chocolate masterclass with Clodagh McKenna.

The venue was dripping with chocolate truffles, candy bars and cocoa-infused martinis.

Just looking around the room was enough to give you a toothache. "But you shouldn't feel guilty eating all this," Clodagh said. "It's such high quality." That may be so but three chocolate martinis make for one heck of a sugar crash.

Sabina steps out of the limelight on first night

Kirsty Blake Knox

It's been, by any standards, a pretty eventful week for Sabina Higgins. So no wonder she and President Michael D were keen to avoid the press at the opening night of the Abbey Theatre's production of Othello.

"No questions! No interviews!" a media manager barked gruffly at reporters. Alright love, keep your hair on.

Outgoing director of the Abbey Fiach Mac Conghail was much more welcoming and talked about handing over the reins to Scottish duo Neil Murray and Graham McLaren this July. "We will work together for four months and then I will sail off into the sunset," he said wistfully. While it's the first time the Abbey have staged Shakespeare's thriller, director Joe Dowling is a little more than familiar with the text.

"I first directed it in Central Park with Christopher Walken," he said. "Which was a real experience". Actress Jane Brennan, playwright Tom Murphy and author Marian Keyes attended.

Dragon Gavin is ace up the sleeve

Bairbre Power

Canapes for Canopi! Fashion entrepreneur Sandra Walsh was in flying form on Sunday as she hosted a stylish party at her Mount Anville home and the first clue to the proceedings was when I spotted Dragon's Den star Gavin Duffy, accompanied by his wife, Orlaith Carmody.

And so it turned to pass that Sandra - who famously sold a fur coat to Richard Burton at her mum's shop in Thurles when she was just 13 - has sold a 35pc share in her Canopi Sleeves business to Gavin for ¤100k. Guests watched the 'will they, won't they' drama unfold on telly and then happily joined Sandra's husband Barry, daughter Vicki and son Alex, who took time out on the eve of his final business degree exams to mark his mum's milestone.

I also spotted Frank Cronin (ex-Newstalk) who is Sandra's business partner and Nadine Manovaloo, who worked with Sandra in her former boutique, Sandz, on Dunville Avenue, a popular spot with the Law Library ladies. Nadine made the first Canopi and paying tribute, Sandra said, "Nadine translated my intention to reality."

Guests got a chance later to enjoy some champagne, and the genial Dragon was in top form. "Gavin is great at the selfies and he brings everyone along," said the hostess with the mostest.

Cage fighters, dodgy dancers and gate crashers

Kirsty Blake Knox

Finally, the news we have all been waiting for, Adele King aka Twink (pictured below with Marty Morrissey) is in talks to develop a TV show all about her love of sugar craft. Oh yes she is!

"I love to bake but I won't be anything like Rachel Allen," she said emphatically. "I'll be roaring and shouting my head off."

The performer was full of chat at the Peter Mark VIP Style Awards.

The night was, as always, a frothy, fabulous mess complete with cage fighters, gate crashers and dodgy dancers.

Dapper scrapper Conor McGregor was mobbed for pictures all night.

"You must be sick of smiling," one guest simpered.

"How could anyone get sick of a smile," he said with a wink and we swooned.

Weather woman Jean Byrne talked about the evolution of her style "clothes are works of art and I love art", actress Aoibhinn McGinnity cosied up to Red Rock star Adam Weafer, and there was lots of ill-advised risqué dance moves.

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Marty Morrissey and twink arrive at the VIP Style Awards. Photo: Damien Eagers.

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