Thursday 22 February 2018

Glasto glitter-boobs or Stylish Silage?

Stylish Silage
Stylish Silage
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Stylish silage
Keoghan: From Love/Hate cat killer to catwalk
Stylish Silage
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Before Longitude, E.P. or even Witnness (remember that?) there was An Tóstal.

A series of festivals around the country that launched in 1953 that were intended to celebrate all that was great and good about Irish life - and to up the numbers of tourists.

The idea was thought up by the President of Pan Am airlines after seeing the 1951 Festival of Britain.

An Tóstal gave birth to a number of events that are still with us, such as the Tidy Towns' competition, and, of course, the Mammy of them all: the Rose of Tralee.

Some other events didn't do so well. Whatever happened to An Tóstal's trout fishing competition for example? Or the infamous An Tóstal hair styling contest, which encouraged lovely young girls to "curl it up in fine fashion".

While most villages, towns and cities retired the festival in 1958, the Leitrim town of Drumshanbo has kept the proud tradition going strong, and this weekend marks the start of the 65th Tóstal Festival.

What better way to kick off the festivities than with the inaugural 'Stylish Silage' competition.

For the uninitiated, that involves taking regular old bales of hay and transforming them into wondrous works of art.

How's that for cutting edge innovation?

Organiser Hugh James Gallagher said the Tóstal committee have been blown away with the quality of entries.

They include a silage pile in the shape of a Minion, a pint of Guinness, a John Deere tractor, Mr Bump, and my favourite; Henry the Vacuum Cleaner.

"It's really taken off - and the entries are getting bigger and more adventurous as the week goes on," Gallagher said.

"The people of Drumshanbo are very creative - they have great imagination."

The winner of the Stylish Silage competition will be announced tomorrow after the annual An Tóstal parade, and shortly before the Joe Dolan Tribute Band take to the stage.

"It's a whole week of celebrations," Gallagher said.

"TV3's Chef Adrian and a comedian hypnotist are coming in for it, too."

Personally, I find An Tóstal just the tonic after all the try-too-hard-ness of Glastonbury where ageing hipsters seemed desperate to prove they were having the time of their lives.

Women wandered about with this year's must-have festival look: 'glitter boobs', which I think we can all agree should be rebranded and renamed 'Disco T**s'. Chronic oversharing pop star Katy Perry roared about finally being cool.

Meanwhile, everyone went insane about Britain's Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn aka Jezza - he got more of a cheer than any of the headline acts.

There was even a sand sculpture depicting Corbyn dressed in hunting garb, chasing Prime Minister Theresa May through a field of wheat.

It just all seemed a little forced, on Instagram everyone was posting pictures of themselves having the Best. Time. Ever.

None of that pressure exists at An Tóstal - you don't have to pretend you know all the bands or like sleeping in a one-man tent in the rain.

Instead, you can just enjoy what's on offer - namely the Stylish Silage show and a bracing rendition of Joe Dolan's hits which, I can exclusively reveal, is likely to include 'The Westmeath Bachelor' and 'Sweet Little Rock N' Roller'.

Dior Blimey! Are Irish men the new FROW favourites?

2017-07-01_ent_32461104_I1.JPG
Keoghan: From Love/Hate cat killer to catwalk

I quietly lost my mind with jealousy when I discovered that Love/Hate cat killer Barry Keoghan had been hand picked by Dior to be a member of the brand's official style squad.

Baz joins a select bunch that includes Twilight star Robert Pattinson, Mr Robot actor Rami Malek and rapper A$AP Rocky.

Being part of the '#KVASquad' (named after creative director Kris Van Assche) meant that Barry got kitted out in Dior clobber, complete with sunglasses and backpack, before heading to the label's catwalk show where he sat FROW next to Christian Slater (who, by the way, has aged extremely well).

Van Assche decided Barry was an eligible member of the squad because of his acting ability, and, "he's a good looking guy, too, so that helps. "

Barry's trip was even filmed by online fashion bible WWD. "Dior makes me look good and I make Dior look good," he told them afterwards.

Can you imagine that? Being dressed head to toe in Dior, so you can sit beside a 1980s heartthrob and watch a catwalk show? It doesn't get much better in my book.

Barry's induction to #KVASquad indicates a considerable shift in Irish men's style status. Don't forget that last month, Cillian Murphy was the star of Stella McCartney's fashion film Black Park and loveable ginger Domhnall Gleeson played Thomas Burberry in the British brand's Christmas ad. With the exception of Ruth Negga, Irish women have not been hand-picked by top-shelf fashion labels in the same way.

Which means we could be entering a bizarre new era. One where Irish men, known for their love of ill-fitting boot-cut jeans, contrast collar shirts and tan piss-catcher shoes have become the epitome of style.

Or perhaps, this is nothing more than some strange, passing style zeitgeist and will fade as quickly as parachute pants.

It's hard to know; on one hand we have Barry and Dior, but on the other we have the wardrobes of every Irish boy band ever. Not to mention Chris de Burgh's leather jackets. The jury's out on this one.

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