Thursday 22 March 2018

Society: Foodie fun and party picnickers

Jerry Fish and DJ Sally Cinnamon at the Electric Picnic 2016 launch party in the Chocolate Factory.
Jerry Fish and DJ Sally Cinnamon at the Electric Picnic 2016 launch party in the Chocolate Factory.
Roz Purcell at the Food Writers' Guild Awards at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. Photo: Paul Sherwood.
Grainne MacNeill and Ciara O'Malley at Electric Picnic 2016 launch. Photo: 1IMAGE/Bryan Brophy.
Megan Virgo and Hayley Rock at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud for the Irish Food Writers' Guild awards. Photo: Paul Sherwood.
Writer Emma Donoghue on the Oscars red carpet wearing a Don O'Neill design. Photo: Getty.
Don O'Neill
Rachel Carberry at House. Photo: Conor Healy Photography.
Rachel Wyse at the launch of Fairyhouse 2016 Easter Festival. Photo: Conor Healy Photography.
Florist Joanna Caffrey and Cliff Townhouse's wedding planner Bruce Russell.
Brie Larson
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The main dining room of Patrick Guilbaud's was eerily quiet on Wednesday afternoon. No lunchtime rush or suits with briefcases.

"I'd imagine there have been a number of cancellations from lunches following the election," Ross Golden Bannon said, nodding in the direction of Government Buildings.

More room for us so.

This year the Irish Food Writers' Guild had their food awards in the swanky Michelin-starred restaurant.

"It's the first time in 16 years it hasn't been in our restaurant," owner of L'Ecrivain Sallyanne Clarke told me. "So I can just sit back and enjoy it."

After a champagne reception and the presentation of awards, I tottered about listening to artisan cheese makers, foragers and herring pickle-ers talk shop.

Model and Natural Born Feeder Roz Purcell, Hayley Rock and Biddy White Lennon all flitted about the room in between courses.

Later in the day I nipped across town for the launch of Electric Picnic in the Chocolate Factory. Doe-eyed songstress Lana Del Ray, LCD Soundsystem and New Order will headline the three-day music extravaganza. Roadies, aeriel artists, and liggers all crammed into the building and slugged beers.

A rake load of DJs from 2FM were knocking about - Eoghan McDermott and his other-half Jo Archbold mingled at the mixology station while JJ Hartigan caught up with pals.

Wonderfully whiskered musician Jerry Fish pranced about talking about that intangible Electric Picnic magic.

"It's an important place for the Irish psyche," he said. "It's probably the only field in Ireland where you will meet someone from every county. It's not just a music festival. It's part of who we are."

And there you were thinking it was nothing more than getting jarred in a tent.

The Ukulele Collective were strumming enthusiastically as waitresses scooted about serving icy beers.

"Nothing gets a party started like a Ukulele band," someone roared.

Singer Maud in Cahoots and her husband boxer Andy Lee looked on as gymnasts contorted themselves into different shapes.

Scenester Dylan Kerr jumped around the Silent Disco dance floor in a gold lame jumpsuit. "I'm here to have fun," he said while voguing.

Outside, future festival-goers perused rails of vintage threads while discussing Haim's hair. Chat inevitably turned to festival essentials and must-haves. "Socks, wet wipes, plasters and Galtee ham," a lady in a crocheted headdress told me.

As far as festival fashion was concerned there was some debate; fringing was out but '90s techno chic was back in. "It's not Coachella," one blogger said. "Just be yourself and have fun. Oh and pack plenty of fleece."

1916 gives rise to three new exhibitions

By Kirsty Blake Knox

By gad! We're in the thick of 1916 celebrations now. This week, the curators of not one, not two but three separate Easter Rising Exhibitions invited us to have a gander at their patriotic shows.

The Ambassador Theatre and National Museum of Ireland threw open the doors on their respective exhibitions 'Revolution 1916' and 'Proclaiming a Republic'.

Meanwhile, the GPO gave us a sneak peak at the new Witness History Centre. Needless to say, all claim to tell the "real story" of the Rising.

The National Museum's do was a formal affair. Launched by Enda Kenny, 'Proclaiming a Republic' is filled with historical nuggets like Thomas Clarke's razor, Padraig Pearse's spectacles, battered first aid kids, bayonets and stagnant smelling salts.

"They have everything bar Countess Markievicz's pantaloons," one guest noted. "But perhaps those are in the GPO."

Don's red carpet orders for Emma

By Bairbre Power

Don O'Neill

If you're going to get a list of 'dos and don'ts' for the Oscars red carpet, who better to get it from than Dr Don.

Kerry-born, New York-based designer Don O'Neill (above) gave a short but definitive list to Oscar-nominee, Emma Donoghue for the 88th Academy Awards... and she carried it out to a tee.

"I told Emma not to carry a handbag, she was to keep her phone and lipstick in her pocket and above all, she was most certainly not to wear her wrap," said Don.

The Ballyheigue native laughs a little about his directness but he's a man with Oscars experience. He even made earrings to match Emma's olive tweed dress so she wouldn't have to spend time finding a match and the silk taffeta wrap was lined in navy blue, to catch the flecks of metallic threads in the dress which were not picked up in press pics.

"I made Emma a wrap because she was terrified of freezing with the cold as they did on the night of the Golden Globes when the air conditioning was turned down to subzero temperatures to counteract the hot stage lights," Don explained.

"I told Emma that I absolutely forbid her to wear the wrap on the red carpet."

And what about the reaction to Caitriona Perry wearing Don's crunchy sequinned gold sheath dress on the red carpet?

RTÉ received lots of enquiries after their US correspondent was spotted on Sunday's 9pm news looking sensational in the designer's homage to the Oscar statue.

Up until now, it's been known in the Theia design offices in NYC as the 'Oprah' dress because the TV star and publisher wore Don's body-skimming dress to the 2012 Oscars, on the cover of her magazine and in a recent birthday portrait.

However, it could acquire a new moniker for the Irish market as calls have poured in and Costume, in Dublin's Castle Market who stock Don along with Catherine McCormack in Adare, could feel an Oscars bounce coming on.

Don told me how Emma said she didn't want a train on her dress because she was worried someone would stand on it.

"She was concerned that she might accidentally end up with whiplash if people stood on it as she was walking but, in the end, I gave her a little train... well, she was an Oscar nominee," said Don.

Maybe Emma's fears were well grounded. Poor Cate Blanchett's low-cut, sea foam Armani Prive gown was marched on by her director, Todd Haynes. Oops, that was kinda awkward!

It's a full House with Fairyhouse favourites

By Bairbre Power

A host of racing royalty descended on House on Wednesday for the launch of Fairyhouse's Easter Festival.

I bumped into jockey Katie Walsh and her husband Ross O'Sullivan. Katie was last year's Irish Grand National winner on Thunder and Roses, trained by Sandra Hughes, who looked fantastic in a polka dot ensemble. The two racing women were spotted chatting together, no doubt plotting for Cheltenham in two weeks and the Irish Grand National in three.

Injured jockey Paul Carberry looked like he was well on the mend after his fall in Listowel and was in fine fettle with his glamorous wife, Rachel.

The Irish Field's Brendan McArdle took on the MC role and chatted to Barry Geraghty who rode Shutthefrontdoor to win the Irish Grand National two years ago.

Sky presenter Rachel Wyse, who is judging the Carton House Most Stylish Lady competition on Easter Monday, looked stunning in a blue Warehouse dress and was delighted to be home for a few days to catch up with friends. Delicious canapés of goats' cheese and beetroot crostini, mini pulled pork sliders and chicken satay skewers kept hungry guests happy and goody bags had a complimentary four-ball at Carton House and tickets to the Easter Festival which runs from March 27-29.

Songwriter Keith Cullen was there chatting about his LA plans with stylist Cathy O'Connor and Midday's Tina Koumarianos looked resplendent, as always, with her kaleidoscope hair style!

Say 'I do' to the personal touch

By Kirsty Blake Knox

The secret to a perfect wedding? (Aside from a free bar of course).

"Making it all about you," wedding whizz-kid Bruce Russell told me this week.

"Keep it personal. No one likes a paint-by-numbers wedding and no one likes predictability."

Russell is acting as the Cliff Townhouse's go-to wedding planner and is full of tips for making sure your nuptials run smoothly.

Over breakfast we heard about the importance of stand-out centre pieces, bronze cutlery and negotiation.

Designer Delphine Grandjouan had brought up some of her sweeping silk bridal gowns. "They come to life when you wear them," she explained.

After a breakfast, Bruce discussed celebrity weddings he would have liked to have worked on.

"The Kardashian Wests," he said straight away. "It was so brash but it suited them perfectly. Those two were never going to get married in a quiet registry office were they?"

Return to  'Red Rock' after Oscar marathon

By Kirsty Blake Knox

It was back to reality for Room producer Ed Guiney this week.

After all the surreal excitement of the Oscars red carpet, he returned home and started working on the next season of Red Rock.

"That's our bread and butter," he told me this week.

It was Ed's first time attending Hollywood's ultimate night out.

"Walking down the red carpet and past Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon and Leo was something you don't forget in a hurry," he said. "It was an incredible moment."

After the Awards ceremony, and with Brie Larson's (below) Oscar in tow, they headed to the Governor's Ball - where chef extraordinare Wolfgang Puck served up Oprah's favourite chicken pot pie.

"Apparently she adores it," Ed said. And then it was on to the Vanity Fair Oscar party which raged on 'til the early hours.

"It is a marathon of a day," Ed said. "It starts very early and ends very late."

Now Ed's production company Element Pictures are focusing on their next project with Lenny Abrahamson, Little Stranger.

Brie Larson

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