Wednesday 26 April 2017

Irish designer Don O'Neill weds longtime partner Pascal Guillermie in idyllic Kerry ceremony

Irish designer Don O'Neill has wed his longtime partner Pascal Guillermie with a romantic celebration in Kerry. Photo: Bairbre Power / Twitter
Irish designer Don O'Neill has wed his longtime partner Pascal Guillermie with a romantic celebration in Kerry. Photo: Bairbre Power / Twitter

Sasha Brady and Majella O'Sullivan

The Don of the New York fashion world tied the knot with his long-time partner in his native Ballyheighue, Co Kerry at the weekend.

Don O’Neill and Paschal Guillermie chose the ruins of Ballyheighue Castle for the intimate ceremony they shared with family and friends.

The 48-year-old Kerryman, whose label Theia has dressed celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Norah Jones, walked to the ceremony with his French partner dressed in matching blue suits with silver embroidery.

Outside they chatted to locals who had gathered to wish the couple well before Don announced: “I have to go now because I’m going to get married.”

Friends and family joined the couple for the bilingual ceremony in French and English including Don’s Dan, Donal, his sister Deirdre, brother Patrick and Paschal’s mum Sylvaine.

Don’s mum Mim passed away a number of years ago from a brain tumour.

The couple sat on white chairs, marked with cupid’s bow and the words ‘husband’ and ‘husband’.

Among the well-known faces were RTÉ Nationwide presenter and Rose of Tralee judge, Mary Kennedy and her daughter Aoife, Gráinne and Síle Seoige, singer and Independent senator Frances Black and artist, Pauline Bewick and her daughter Poppy.

Afterwards guests retired to a marquee that had been erected on the castle grounds for the wedding banquet.

Speaking to the Irish Independent in 2015, the designer said that he hoped he would have a chance to get married in his homeland, surrounded by his loved ones in Kerry.

"It was hard growing up gay in Ireland in the 1980s," Don explains. "I thought I was singularly the only gay man in Ireland and didn't understand my sexuality at all. It was something that took me a long time to come to terms with," he explained.

"It's not that I need the State to validate my relationship because nobody can validate how you feel, but for me it is important from the point of view that it is seen as OK by society.

"It is OK for a man and a woman to marry and it is OK for two women or two men too - it shouldn't be an issue at all. At the end of the day the most important thing is love and that you want to spend the rest of your life with this person, that is what should be recognised and celebrated."

Don's designs have become increasingly popular since the launch of his label Theia in 2009 and his unique approach to designing for women's bodies have made the label a huge hit.

Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler, Taylor Swift, Zendaya, Khloe Kardashian and Carrie Underwood are just some of the big names who have worn his designs to red carpet events. And in 2015, he launched a range of bridal dresses, which are available in Dublin's hip Folkster boutique.

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