A 50-FOOT ramp, a crew of 25 models showing over 300 outfits from 27 designers, milliners and Munster shops all contributed to make the Irish Independent/'Kerryman' Rose of Tralee Fashion Show the biggest of its kind.
Glamazons descended on The Dome last night for the gala show where Teresa O'Brien won the Best Dressed award in a pale pink 1960s inspired vintage outfit.
The competition was judged by outgoing Rose Nicola McEvoy and the Irish Independent's fashion editor Bairbre Power.
In a new innovation, the organisers launched the Rose of Tralee Fashion Designer Awards. The two winners were local milliner Carol Kennelly, whose headpieces are regular winners on the Best Dressed circuit, and Catherine Kelly from Glenbeigh, Co Kerry, a student whose collection was inspired by fairy forts.
Front row glamour was provided by Lorraine Keane, the 1983 Rose of Tralee Brenda Hyland Beirne and local hotelier Marie Chawke of the Aghadoe Heights Hotel, who co-sponsored the new designer award along with Hannons Fashion Shop of Castleisland.
Designer Don O'Neill, fresh from a career high of dressing Oprah Winfrey, showed 20 dresses and his finale offering was a sensational wedding dress. It was a triumphant return home for a local boy at the pinnacle of his career but for O'Neill, the night was tinged with sadness. It has only been a year since the New York-based designer said goodbye to his mother Mim, but he feels strongly she has had a hand in his success.
Mrs O'Neill was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April last year and passed away the following July. O'Neill is the creative designer of American fashion label Theia and dressed Oprah Winfrey for the New York premiere of her new film 'The Butler' this month.
"I think part of what's happening here is thanks to mum. My career to date was inspired by her and her love of fashion," he told the Irish Independent. Meanwhile, the running order for the live Rose of Tralee performances tonight has been revealed – with Clare's Marie Donnellan first up.
Still smiling after Clare's decisive win over Limerick in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final, the GAA fan is not worried about her live interview with host Daithi O Se.
"I was hoping I'd be on the first night anyway so that I could enjoy watching the second night but this is even better because I'll get to see all the other interviews," she said. The winner will be chosen tomorrow night.