Understated elegance: Teacher Ann Marie gives a lesson in style
THE focus was on glamorous style as the Dundrum Town Centre Ladies Day attracted just over 380 competitors at the historic Ballsbridge showgrounds.
Entrants happily queued, sipped prosecco, chatted fashion, swapped names of milliners and posed for photos before joining MC Nadine Reid on stage.
It was hard not to be impressed by the ingenuity of the entrants and the energetic recycling clearly going on in wardrobes nationwide. Sustainability isn't a buzzword, it's a reality in Irish fashion in 2019.
Ladies shared stories of splicing and dicing dresses and jackets to create new outfits. And the gents were at it too, wearing bow-ties made from wood and natty cravats made that morning from silk curtain lining.
Ann Marie Dunning, who clinched the coveted Dundrum Town Centre Best Dressed Lady title and a €10,000 prize, wore a stunning monochrome dress best described as 'My Fair Lady' meets modern dressing.
Her ivory neoprene boatneck dress by Australian designer Bel Cappello featured a dramatic black and white striped bow that flourished its way up the front and over the shoulder. It was the epitome of understated elegance. Ann Marie's headpiece was a giant bow by Roscommon milliner Laura Hanlon which sat on a chic chignon.
Ann Marie is back to school as a fifth-class primary teacher in Scoil Mhuire in Newbridge in a few weeks, but she will have a little time before then to decide how to spend her prize.
Gemologist Gemma Gleeson won the Stena Line Most Creative Hat prize with a wonderful rose-like, red headpiece by milliner Celestine McCoy, from Hattitude in Kinsale.
Dramatic hats were thick on the ground but Gemma wore it so well, teamed with an Alexander McQueen red and black dress and stick of Bobbi Brown lippie. She attended Ladies Day with her two-year-old daughter, Hope.
I was judging with my fellow 'Weekend' magazine colleague Darren Kennedy, and we had the best fun chatting with the entrants.
Luke Gibbons, from Claremorris, Co Mayo, won a made-to-measure suit from Louis Copeland & Sons for his classical Irish tweed houndstooth and bold blue prints.
The coveted 'Longines Elegance is an Attitude' prize, of a Longines Conquest watch with white mother of pearl and diamonds, was awarded to Denise Curran, from Armagh, who wore a Grecian goddess-style dress and Suzanne Ryan headpiece.