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Fur flies as clothes king sneers at `bog' Irish

TOP Irish fashion designers have their pins out for Paul Costelloe after he sneered that Irish women ``wouldn't know style if it tottered up to them in 10-inch heels'' .

The Dublin designer, who also dismissed his former client Princess Diane's taste for labels as ``vulgar'', said: ``Deep down, Irish women are scared of fashion''.

They only feel confident if they are wearing a label and ``worse still, they will wear something hideously safe in the knowledge that it has a label''.

Costelloe, who recently relocated his business to London and is moving home from Monkstown to Putney, told a Sunday newspaper that the Irish are ``only a couple of generations out of bog'' and while some women exude style, others look like ``ambitious mutton''.

But top selling designer Louise Kennedy has praised them for having ``a strong sense of their own style'' and declared ``Irish women certainly are not fashion victims.

``Irish women understand the colours that suit them and do not fall into fashion trends.''

Speaking from Paris, Louise rejected the notion that Irish women are scared of fashion. Irish women have ``a passion for fashion'', she said and ``always have an understanding of quality''.

Designer Richard Lewis rubbished Costelloe's comments, saying: ``Paul has moved to the UK. He has forgotten where he came from.

``Dublin was the second capital of the British Empire in Georgian times. We are not two generations out of the bog. How dare he?

``His comments are outrageous. I was stunned and very disappointed by what he said and the nastiest comment was that attack on Princess Diane. That was cheap.''

Irish rag trade insiders were ``gobsmacked'' by Costelloe's caustic comments about the Irish market which established his name abroad.

They forecast that sales of his heavily branded glassware, cutlery and his new `Costelloe' fashion range could suffer if punters show him just how discerning they are about designer labels.

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