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Tinseltown's Irish style queen


Petra Nemcova

Petra Nemcova

Petra Nemcova

On Sunday morning at 10.30 LA-time, a glittering red-carpet season comes to its pinnacle when the much-anticipated 87th Academy Awards begins.

And despite her cool demeanour and rock-solid reputation, stylist Joanne Black has already this week weathered her fair share of frenzy. A former Miss Ireland and model, the Co Cavan native now counts the likes of actress Goldie Hawn, model Petra Nemcova and Sarah Bolger among her clients.

In recent days alone there was a movie premiere to navigate, while last night she attended the Oscar Wilde event in Santa Monica. Tomorrow, she is styling Petra for Harvey Weinstein's iconic pre-Oscars party in Beverly Hills, and on Sunday she's dressing Petra again, along with Sarah Bolger, for the coveted Elton John Oscars bash.

"At this time of year, the city is really alive," she explained yesterday morning from her LA base. "It's hectic, certainly."

However, for Joanne this week also marks the accumulation of months of work.

"Once the new season stuff is out, you contact all the designers as soon as you can and have fittings lined up. I'm always glued to fashion weeks; eyeing up the catwalks and identifying what my clients are going to want. "Then it's a case of contacting the designers to request a piece," she says.

The 41-year-old also reveals that every minute counts for a big star with a hectic Oscars weekend diary full of high-profile events.

"Petra is in London at the moment and won't arrive in LA until tomorrow for the Weinstein party, which is a big ticket to get.

"We're going to have to work fast. She lands early and we'll transfer immediately to a 'Grazia' shoot. Then it's straight into an afternoon fitting - we've pulled half a dozen dresses but we'll get that down then and decide what exactly she'll wear for Weinstein and for Elton John. We still have no idea!

"At least I did Sarah's Elton John fitting yesterday before the Oscar Wildes, so she has her look finalised now."

As for what we can expect to see on Sunday, Joanne says she loves the glamour of the Oscars. "They are always so elegant," she says.

"You're always going to see beads and block colours, and you'll always get someone that will just throw in a very out-there look. Dior will have something stand-out."

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However, she won't budge when pressed to reveal who she thinks will nab the best-dressed - and indeed, worst-dressed - accolade.

"Isn't that part and parcel of the fun," she laughs.

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