IT is that time of year again to take the Philip Treacy hat out of mothballs. The Peter Mark VIP Style Awards take place on Friday at the Shelbourne Hotel.
I'm still recovering from the shock of Clodagh Kean's absence in 2006. The event is the biggest yet, with more than 320 guests invited, and it always seems to involve the odd glamorous catfight when the free champagne kicks in, but enough about VIP publisher Michael O'Doherty calling me various unprintable names from the stage last year.
This year, nine Miss Irelands past and present are expected to show: Siobhan McClafferty, Amanda Brunker, Pamela Flood, Vivienne Doyle, Andrea Roche, Aoife Cogan, Rosanna Davison, Sarah Morrissey and current one Blaithnaid McKenna.
As to what Irish beauty will walk away with the main prize on the night, the information on the gravepvine is that Lorraine Keane should possibly be preparing a speech. The TV3 presenter is the firm favourite at this stage. Andrea Roche is close in the running too, with Kathryn Thomas and Caroline Morahan not far behind. New entrant Leigh Arnold could be a dark horse.
Naturally, Michael O'Doherty is diplomatically tight-lipped on the matter. "I'm always amused when people ask us, 'Who's going to win the award this year?'" he told me.
"People seem to forget it's a public vote -- we've already had more than 5,000 votes in, and the final week will probably see that many again.
"The winner of the award is voted for by the Irish public, and the winner of the Most Stylish Person on the Night is voted for by all the guests present. We just count the votes and announce the winners, though if people want to try and bribe me, I'm happy to accept."
Meanwhile, Ryan Tubridy is hotly tipped to grab the Man of Style Award, sponsored by House of Fraser. Others in contention include Ireland AM presenter, Mark Cagney, entrepreneur Simon Stokes, and You're A Star judge Keith Duffy. The official after-show party will be in Krystle nightclub. There, you can expect to find Leigh with Marcus, Lorraine with Peter Devlin, Laura Bermingham with her male model husband, Gary and the Seoige Sisters with their husbands Stephen and Glen, among others.
"They're closing off the whole VIP area just for us," O'Doherty tells me."
"Some people, such as Mary Kennedy and Miriam Ahern, will need directions as to how to get to Krystle. Others, like Anne Doyle, possibly won't."
Her partner, Dan McGrattan, can lead the way.