Friday 20 September 2019

Society: Sew long to Richard's designs

Norah Casey and her mother Mags at the Women of the Year Awards, Dublin
Norah Casey and her mother Mags at the Women of the Year Awards, Dublin
Naomh and Aoife Kirwan
Conor Lenihan with his niece Claire at the National Library for his book launch. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Ed Sheeran has been captured on canvas by artist Colin Davidson
Bairbre and Charlotte Tilbury.
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

He's dressed all the greats, including Maureen O'Hara, and earlier this year Marian Finucane got married wearing Richard Lewis. This week, Ireland's answer to Jean Muir announced his retirement from the world of fashion with a farewell card including a drawing from his latest collection. It sent shock-waves through social circles where ladies who lunch - and hostesses with the mostest - know the power of a sophisticated, yet utterly sexy, Richard Lewis guna.

Richard is hanging up his couturier measuring tape to relax into retirement, which he so richly deserves after making Irish women look divine for years.

Indeed, Mary Kennedy is still talking about how fabulous she felt when she wore Richard's signature silk jersey in front of 300 million viewers as she presented the Eurovision at the Point.

So Richard's annual drinks party on December 14, which marks the passing of his late partner, Jim Greeley, who died so suddenly on his way to work on Naasau Street will now be a fashion farewell too. The cherubic Richard has enough stories to keep endless dinner parties going but the Dubliner is the soul of discretion and positively refused to tell me who ordered a wedding dress in red when I met him for lunch this week.

"All things come to an end," he beamed philosophically before heading back to South Frederick Street to finalise his closing-down sale where he is taking orders, at a 25pc discount. "It's the last chance to buy a Richard Lewis original," said the designer, who will finally get an opportunity to indulge his penchant for buying books, playing great music, and dinner with pals in the Troc, where Robert always gives him a great table.

The management of the InterContinental Hotel in Ballsbridge were lucky not to have a perfumed riot on their hands in the early hours of last Sunday morning when hundreds of guests poured out of Norah Casey's epic and tremendously uplifting Women of the Year awards.

Everyone was looking forward to a drink, not to mention some networking, and maybe a little goss but the clock was against them and all the bars were closed!

To add to the annoyance, there was a lengthy delay in getting taxis so the ladies stood in their high heels outside the Ice Bar waiting for cars. Still, it was an opportunity to congratulate all the winners and Norah, who did a splendid job saluting Ireland's top women.

There's more room to manoeuvre in city

By Bairbre Power

Harry Styles, Kate Middleton, and Irish royalty Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman, are all committed pilates fans and this week Irish couple Naomh Kirwan and her fiancé Gary Nethaway opened The Pilate Movement, their own dedicated pilates studio in Dun Laoghaire and Naomh's twin Aoife was there to celebrate.

A knee injury from playing soccer led Gary, drummer with Dirty Epics, to focus on pilates.

On Thursday, Ruth Hearns, owner of The Banynan Tree, hosted a party to celebrate the opening of her new store located beside Avoca in Monkstown. She also has a shop in The Tramyard in Dalkey. Nadia Forde arrived with Joanne Byrne and is excited she's to be co-hosting Xpose this week. Lorraine Keane is delighted, too, with her new UTV show.

Haughey's box office draw gives Martin hope

By Kirsty Blake Knox

We were all transfixed and horrified in equal measure when actor Aidan Gillen sauntered onto our small screens this year sporting what can only be described as the worst comb-over in TV history.

Conor Lenihan, son of Brian Lenihan Senior, claims he never got round to actually watching RTE's political drama Charlie. Nonetheless, the show inspired him to write a book all about the man himself - Charles Haughey. "I think it made us realise how box office Haughey is," Conor said at the launch of Haughey: Prince of Power this week.

Micheál Martin was launching the book and seemed in high spirits - no doubt thanks to a few encouraging words from the publisher John O'Connor. "I once asked Bertie Ahern to launch a book and in five months he was Taoiseach," John said. "Then I asked Brian Cowen to launch a book and five months later he was Taoiseach. So there's hope yet." The art of eavesdropping was a hot topic of conversation. "There's a skill to quietly listening and picking up information here, there and everywhere," Micheál Martin said. Assorted Fianna Fáil backbenchers enjoyed a glass of wine as they milled about the ornate setting of the National Library. The opulent surroundings must have reminded them of all the long years they ran the country.

"They didn't have far to travel," one attendee said, nodding at Leinster House.

Across town, broadcaster Pat Kenny was launching Dennis Horgan's Dublin: The View from Above, which is filled with aerial shots of the fair city. It follows on from the success of Horgan's first book, Cork: The View from Above. Dennis took the pictures while dangling out the door of a helicopter, which takes some skill, not to mention a strong stomach.

"Working on the book combines two of my great loves," he said proudly. "Flying and photography. I don't get anxious leaning out the side of a helicopter - I've great insurance."

Horgan is already planning his next publication, Ireland: The View From Above.

Meanwhile, Pat chatted about UTV Ireland's decision to pull his chat show In the Round. "These things happen with a young station," he said. "I thought the programme was strong but that's how it works in TV."

Colin's brush with fame ... a portrait of Sheeran

By Kirstie Blake Knox

For a man with no interest in celebrity circles, portrait artist Colin Davidson has a pretty glitzy clientele list with Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, Sir Kenneth Branagh, and Mark Knopfler all sitting for him.

And now everyone's favourite ginger pop star and all-round nice guy Ed Sheeran has posed for him.

Colin is one of the judges for this year's Hennessy Portrait Prize and was on hand at the Portrait Prize Shortlist exhibition in the National Gallery this week.

"We had over 260 entries and it was extremely hard to narrow it down," Colin said.

"The talent was overwhelming."

Simon Burch is one of the artists to make the cut with his arresting portrait of one of Ireland's top jockeys, Ruby Walsh.

"He has a great face.

"We didn't have a huge amount of time to take the photo but Ruby's face is loaded with expression," he said.

The portraits are now on display and the winner will be named at a fancy party on November 17.

Pregnant Pippa's in a festive mood

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Is that the sound of tinsel rustling, lords a-leaping and Mariah Carey warbling?

It can only mean one thing - like it or lump it, Christmas is just around the corner.

This week a plethora of festive bashes took place, complete with piles of mince pies, glittery baubles and my favourite super naff Christmas cocktail, the Amaretto Fizz. Model-turned-social-media-star Pippa O'Connor Ormond was beaming when she bounced through the doors of Centra's Christmas party at the Merrion Hotel.

Pips is expecting her second baby and took to Twitter to share the good news with vloggers, bloggers and blaggers.

"I'm so excited," she said, batting her lashes.

"We're still getting used to it - it's still sinking in. I'm already so busy so what's another one?"

Pippa is also planning on writing a book all about beauty and fashion. "It's my forte," she informed me. "I have been approached by a couple of publishers."

Guests listened to the choir, and supped bevvies before posing in a giant red chair - which flipped them a la The Graham Norton Show.

"Isn't it gas?" Pippa said while pulling the lever.

Charlotte, the 'miracle' worker and Irish bubbly

By Bairbre Power

Yvonne Connolly was travelling at speed through Brown Thomas armed with a bottle of champagne when I met her last Friday afternoon and, as it turns out, we were both headed to a suite upstairs to meet the make-up-artist-to-the-stars, Charlotte Tilbury (pictured).

"The champagne is not for me, it's for Charlotte, my former nanny is now nanny to Charlotte's kids," explained Yvonne, who I met again the following night, looking tres chic in head-to-toe Coast.

It turns out that Charlotte was so thrilled with her new nanny that she sent Yvonne a huge box of her branded 'Miracle' make-up so the bubbly was a thank-you back.

The titian-haired make-up artist is THE hottest property on the red-carpet circuit.

I last met Charlotte at the Cannes Film Festival in May where she was working with Miranda Kerr.

And can I tell you, there is nothing more captivating than Charlotte's cat's eyes gazing into your face for 10 seconds and telling you your colours! That's Santa sorted!

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