Sunday 25 February 2018

Hair stylists confirm the end of the Rose of Tralee Updo

Queensland Rose Ellen McCready having her make up applied at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Queensland Rose Ellen McCready having her make up applied at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Tralee Co Kerry. Pic Steve Humphreys
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The end of an era is upon us.

The 2017 Rose of Tralee hair stylists are making a conscious effort to move away from the classic ‘updo’.

The hairstyle with all its twisted coils and buckets of hairspray was seen as the quintessential Rose look but this year, after careful consideration official ROT hair stylist Kara McDonagh from Sean Taffe Salons says the back stage team are determined to “break boundaries”.

“Last year we were very classic but this year moving away from tradition and the up-do,” she said.

“The Rose is usually about Chignons and side buns but this year, we’re thinking outside the box. We’re looking to the Kardashians and Rita Ora for inspiration. This year we are breaking boundaries.”

Like snowflakes, no two Rose hairstyles can be the same so there is a scramble backstage as each of them try and get the look they want.

Think of it a bit like the stock exchange - but for hair. 

“It can be a little heated,” Kara said. “They all want to look their best. But the hair stylists have the final stay.”

The finalists will also have jewellery and flowers incorporated into their hair styles. “To add a bit of detail.”

The make up style has changed too, last year it was all about mattifying and absolutely no gloss whatsoever.

“This year we wanted to mix it up - every Rose will have a different lipstick and we will be contouring and using shimmer again. We are being much more adventurous with the looks. We are going for more contemporary and modern looks. Something younger. So that people will watch it and say ‘I want my hair to look just like the Kerry Rose’.”

Meanwhile, the dresses worn by the winning Roses are on display in Ashe Memorial Hall as part of an exhibition by Kerry Museum.

A replica of the dress worn by the first ever Rose of Tralee Alice O'Sullivan is on display - it is the only knee length dress in the collection.

All the others - excluding Maria Walsh's which was a midi dress - are full length.

Many of the dresses have interesting stories behind them; for example the dress worn by Kathryn Feeney, 2006 Rose,  was originally supposed to be her bridesmaid’s gown for her sister’s wedding, until the bride eloped to a tropical island.

Lisa Murtagh the 2007 Rose said the dress she wore on that fateful night in Tralee meant as much to her as her wedding dress.

"She said it is the dress she got the most pleasure and greatest joy from," Exhibition curator Rebecca Kemp said. 

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