Monday 19 March 2018

Sabina makes it three in a row for uncrowned queen of Irish fashion

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, walks with Sabina Higgins, the wife of the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, during a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, walks with Sabina Higgins, the wife of the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, during a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle
Louise Kennedy
Milliner Philip Treacy
Glove maker Paula Rowan

Bairbre Power Fashion Editor

SABINA Higgins proved the perfect ambassador for Irish fashion on the first full day of the historic state visit to the UK.

Mrs Higgins' elegant style earned her international praise and even the Duchess of Cornwall won't have been in the dark about her choice of milliner.

Philip Treacy is already a royal favourite and a personal friend of the Duchess, who got married in Windsor nine years ago today wearing a feathered headpiece by the Galwegian.

Mrs Higgins started the day in a Louise Kennedy coat and dress in striking blush peach.

The Chloe collarless, edge-to-edge coat featured subtle Japanese pearl embellishment in a starburst design, framing the neckline and front.

The coat, with its blush and silver lurex thread, retails for €1,495 and has been a big SS14 hit for the Thurles-born designer who is already well- known in the UK, with a busy boutique in London's exclusive Belgravia. But the exposure yesterday, with Mrs Higgins choosing to wear three of Louise's outfits in succession, will copperfasten her reputation abroad as the uncrowned queen of of Irish fashion.

The pastel outfit was an ideal choice, picture perfect for the hungry phalanx of cameras, and while the pearls on the coat stood out in the Windsor sunshine, you could glimpse the continuity with the pearl detail carried through on the bodice of the blush Alberta jersey dress underneath.

Philip Treacy's peach sinamay hat with angled, pleated frame was dramatic without being invasive – or troublesome – and Mrs Higgins carried a peach oval clutch in her 'Sabina' gloves which were named after her by the Dublin glove designer Paula Rowan.

The gloves, featuring an extra pleat design down the side, were made in Naples from lambskin with a silk lining, to facilitate easy removal. As photos landed from Windsor, Paula's phone in her Westbury Mall store, and her Twitter account, lit up with message of congratulations, including a call from the BBC.

"This is an amazing honour and a great compliment for a young brand," said Paula, who started out in the handbag business seven years ago, but has since diversified into shoes and gloves.

In the afternoon, Mrs Higgins changed into a more sombre colour as her husband lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey. She wore a Louise Kennedy Jelena coat from her AW13 collection. The magenta, double-face crepe coat features a striking beading detail radiating from the neckline and underneath. Mrs Higgins also wore a co-ordinating 'Katie' cap-sleeved dress.

The white-tie banquet at Windsor last night called for glamour and Mrs Higgins wore the 'Grace' evening gown in French guipure lace.

Once again, the dress carried Louise Kennedy's signature eye for detail and the sleeves were adorned with crystals in tones of green and blue to add lustre and iridescence.

The body of the gown is hand-encrusted with semi-precious crystals. All outfits were a stand-out success because of their simplicity but stylishness. Mrs Higgins and her best friend, costume designer Joan Bergin, planned the outfits together and have done a marvellous job.

Irish Independent

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