Saturday 24 March 2018

Society: Miranda leaves the men drooling

Miranda Kerr arrives to the exclusive Cannes MAGNUM in stunning Emanuel Ungaro pink and playful couture dress
Miranda Kerr arrives to the exclusive Cannes MAGNUM in stunning Emanuel Ungaro pink and playful couture dress
Princess Charlene of Monaco
Hilary Burke, Deirdre Kelly and Jacqueline Dixon at the Angels Quest charity lunch at the Intercontinental hotel-photo Kieran Harnett
April McClements and Aoife McCluskey at the Angels Quest charity lunch at the Intercontinental hotel. Photo Kieran Harnett
Julian St Lawrence, Senator Averil Power and Paul Reid CEO Fingal. Pic Orla Murray/ Ark Photography
Senator Fergal Quinn and Eleanor Brady, co- producer Howth Midsummer Literary Arts Festival.
Emma Coppola, Valerie Davy and Claire Ronan at the Angels Quest charity lunch at the Intercontinental hotel. Photo Kieran Harnett

Bairbre Power and Kirsty Blak-Knox

The non-stop drone over my hotel kept me up to speed on the number of private executive jets flying into the small, super exclusive Cannes-Mandelieu airport, unloading their cargo of movie royalty for the 68th Cannes Film Festival.

And from there, many of the stars hopped into helicopters, to be whizzed over to Cap d'Antibes where Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc was like Hollywood on vacation on the Cote d'Azur.

The epitome of luxury, the waterside mansion was built by the founder of Le Figaro newspaper for writers seeking inspiration. F Scott Fitzgerald immortalised it as the Hôtel des Etrangers in Tender Is the Night.

From my poolside spot at The Pullman Hotel, I could count the jets dropping in and out every few minutes and it was fun guessing who might be onboard. Which one was transporting the star of our Magnum Pink and Black party, undoubtedly the hottest ticket in Cannes that night, located in a chic, beach-side ice-cream lounge?

Miranda Kerr was the brand's Cannes ambassador. The ex-Victoria's Secrets model caused a frisson of excitement among the (drooling) male guests and the (fashion crush) female guests who wanted to know where she got that plunging, raspberry dress (the answer is Ungaro) and how those impossibly long legs above the gorgeous Louboutin heels looked so sleek and shiny? The answer is she uses her own brand Kora Organics Rosehip oil.

Miranda counted us down to the official reveal of the new raspberry and espresso Magnums and announced the lighting up of cities in pink or black light, including Dublin's Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, on May 28.

Amongst the stylish guests I spotted flame-haired Charlotte Tilbury, the celebrity make-up artist whose client list runs from Madonna to Kate Moss. Charlotte had worked on Miranda that night and we chatted about her visit to Brown Thomas last December and she stopped for me to tweet a pic of her exceptionally sexy black suede heels.

Of all the women in the room, it was Dubliner Danielle Byrne from Thinkhouse PR who was pulled up on stage to assist the DJs.

The paps were out in force to see if Miranda set sail for James Packer's giant yacht parked in the bay and we partied on without her at the lounge, watching the night lights dance on the two majestic silver domes of the Carlton Hotel opposite, reputedly designed to resemble the cleavage of a famous French courtesan.

The Irish turn out in force in Cannes

The Irish were thick on the ground in Cannes. I bumped into Xpose's bride-to-be, Lisa Cannon, while she was filming on the Croisette.

Limerick model Madeleine Mulqueen had been turning heads wearing Colin Horgan and I spotted Colin Farrell wearing Dolce & Gabbana, accompanied by his sister Claudine, who is his personal assistant.

Psychologist Jason O'Callaghan (a former social diarist) also splits his time between Cannes and Dublin. Jason studied at Trinity, set up his D4 Clinic for Psychology/Hypnotherapy in 2011 and now has two branches.

From his home in The Suquet in Cannes, Jason told me about his Live Hypnosis shows around the country. "The last one in The Goat was hilarious.

They thought Michael Jackson was sitting in the audience, and watch Vogue Williams' RTE2 show next week because she came to me for hypnotherapy to improve her memory."

Hope I remember!


Zoe is bound for the Palace tonight

Just as I was flying out of the Cote d'Azur, Irish fashion designer, Zoe Jordan, was arriving. The hugely popular designer was jetting into Monte Carlo for this weekend's Formula One Grand Prix de Monaco, and to catch up with her parents, Eddie and Marie, who live in the principality.

"We are going to the Palace on Saturday night so I better start looking for something to wear," said the designer, who has one of the nicest wardrobes I know and excels at that oh-so-hard concept of quirky smart casual.

We often chat about her Dublin roots, all the way back to the Coombe hospital. Her mum, Marie, who played basketball for Ireland, grew up in my own stomping ground of Terenure.

Zoe and her husband, Steve Aspinall, and their gorgeous two blonde daughters, are planning a nice long holiday but Zoe will be back in her London studio in August before the launch of her next big thing.

My lips are sealed but I can reveal that it is a collaboration with a very popular high street brand! Watch this space.

Never a Formula One brat, Zoe told me of the fun times after a race when her dad - often known as EJ - would let them get into the cars and do doughnuts. And then there was driver Johnny Herbert "who used to do our hair and put bows in."

Zoe's AW15 range is keenly awaited by her fashion fans who have been swooning at her powder blue 'Bear Run' jacket after it was spotted on the back of Susie Bubble during LFW.

Tonight Zoe will be meeting the Monégasque royals. Monaco has gone baby mad after the birth five months ago of Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella and having two children of her own, Zoe and Princess Charlene will have lots to chat about.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Charlene Wittstock a few weeks before her marriage to Prince Albert. Together we walked around the Newbridge Silverware Style Icon Museum where, with Grace Kelly's niece and two nephews, the former South African Olympic swimmer paused to look at the iconic collection of clothes associated with Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana, which are on permanent display in the museum. Charlene was presented with pearls from the Princess Grace collection and the celebrations will continue all summer as the royal couple celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary.


So many charity lunches, so little time

Prince Charles will remember Deirdre Kelly, the dynamic Dublin woman who invited him to open the Angels Quest respite home in Glenageary back in 2000. The respite home was set up in partnership with St John of Gods at a cost of €950,000 and Prince Charles did the honours.

Last Friday, Deirdre Kelly was back in action again, hosting the annual Angels Quest summer lunch at the InterContinental Dublin "and we brought the sun out, as usual," said Deirdre.

"The lunch was very successful and we had 150 women and raised quite a bit," said Deirdre, who was joined by regular supporters like Caroline Harrington, Sallyanne Clarke and Norah Casey.

Dublin hosted two charity lunches that day with the Cari lunch on in the Shelbourne. The double-up in dates was a little unfortunate for ladies who want to support both worthy charities. Deirdre said she was in contact with Cari's Miriam Ahern. "It was a complete mishap but we'll talk early next year about dates," she said.

Red's the colour for dapper Fergal

It was books, not fish, that pulled us out of the city for the beautiful port village of Howth on Wednesday night.

John Banville, the 2005 winner of the Booker Prize says, "Howth, with its many literary connections and connotations, is an ideal site for a book festival", and I couldn't agree more.

The 2015 Howth Midsummer Literary Arts Festival will be held for the first time in the historic Lutyens Library in Howth Castle, June 5-7. Senator Fergal Quinn was easy to spot, sporting a blazer in a rather spectacular shade of red. He was chatting with Eleanor Brady, co-producer of the festival, and I also spotted Senator Averil Power, Elaina Ryan, Director of Children's Books Ireland and Sarah O'Neill, Arts Office Fingal County Council.

The literary strand of the festival comprises of five "in conversation" events headlined by Pulitzer Prize winners Richard Ford and Michael Cunningham and Booker Prize winners John Banville, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright.

The festival will also pay homage to Sir Edwin Lutyens and his contribution to Howth and its environs. There will be a series of talks by Jane Ridley (great niece and biographer), Martin Lutyens (great nephew and Lutyens Trust) and Matthew Jebb from the Lambay Trust.

Claire quizzes Prince Charles on new Princess

The new royal arrival, Princess Charlotte, featured on many women's lips in Sligo during the royal visit. Prince Charles, a keen gardener, looked thrilled at being presented with the new Yeats' rose.

"Benbulben in the sun looked amazing," said Weekend magazine gardening guru, Leonie Cornelius, whose son Armondo (8) met the Prince in school, and she told me all about it when I met her at a fashion shoot in Dublin the next day.

Meanwhile, Dublin-born, Sligo-based mother-of-five, Claire Ronan (below), has turned into quite a media star.

When her three eldest kids went to college, Claire studied broadcasting and in record time, she's gone from a consumer slot on Ocean FM to doing her own show. She also does the half-hour show, Sligo County Matters, on Irish TV, which is how she got to meet and ask Prince Charles a question in Sligo on Wednesday. "I was at the press conference and I asked Prince Charles how his new granddaughter was and he told me she was 'perfectly well'." Married to wind farming entrepreneur, Conor Ronan, Claire also attended the Angels Quest lunch last Friday.

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