Tuesday 23 July 2019

Society: Penneys' parties mark US arrival

Emily Ratajkowski stole the show in a crop top and sext velvet-look skirt
Emily Ratajkowski stole the show in a crop top and sext velvet-look skirt
Bairbre Power and Breege O'Donoghue who is a board member of Primark.
Marietta Doran and Orla Diffily.
Iron man Niall Breslin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Vogue Williams & Angela Scanlon during an announcement of a new season of programmes on RTE 2 at RTE studios Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Penneys-Primark hosted two super parties over the last week to mark their arrival onto the US fashion scene. Style queen Danielle Berstein of the influential WhoWearWhat blog attended a dinner party organised by Refinery 29 at And&And in New York's West Village.

The dinner was attended by actress/model Emily Ratajkowski who set Twitter alive when she stole the show in a crop top and a sexy velvet-look pencil skirt that cost €10.

Emily's middle name is O'Hara and the actress (who famously starred in the Blurred Lines video for the 2013 number one hit and was the mistress in Gone Girl) had two Irish grannies and a family home in Bantry which is how she knows so much about Penneys fashion in Ireland.

On Wednesday night, I attended Primark's eve of opening party in-store at Downtown Crossing in Boston.

The unseasonally hot temperatures sent the mercury into the 90s.

Guests at the party included Alma Ryan who flew over the previous day with her husband, Dr Arthur Ryan, who founded Penneys in Dublin in 1969.

There was a pulsating live performance by Tinashe and a DJ set by Alexandra Richards which guests enjoyed as they moved between the four floors of the store and enjoyed canapés of crab and mini burgers, wine and a Primark Pimms cocktail.

Standing outside the store before the party, I bumped into George Weston, chief executive of Associated British Foods, who owns Primark and is a nephew of George Weston, who owns Brown Thomas. A number of the Weston clan attended the party including George's brother, Guy, and his wife, Charlotte.

It was a great night to celebrate before the formal speeches and ribbon cutting on Thursday and very special for Breege O'Donoghue, the only female on the board of Penneys, who grew up in Galway where the 'next parish' was Boston. She wore a Kelly green dress specially for the party and for a woman who makes a point of learning the language every time Primark goes into a new territory, this time Breege's opening day address was in 'American'.

At the party I bumped into Marissa Carter of Cocoa Brown Tan who was over attending the Inbound digital conference near Logan airport.

Marissa's false tan is stocked in Penneys and Primark and she told me how she was looking forward to hearing Chelsea Clinton speak at the conference.

Indeed, Marissa will be speaking lots of American herself as she has plans to move over with her family for a few years to grow her business here, building on the exposure of Kylie Jenner's Instagram post about liking the tanning product.

Showcasing Irish fashion in Big Apple

By Bairbre Power

The greening of Park Avenue was a very stylish affair in New York on Thursday night as the inaugural Ireland Fashion Showcase unveiled its wealth of creative talent.

Manhattan-based designer, Dr Don O'Neill, was uber conscious about giving the 10 participating Irish designers all the limelight so limited himself to helping and dressing IFS organisers, Marietta Doran and Orla Diffily.

It was an impressive night at the Irish consulate with back to back catwalk presentations from the designers including Una Burke who has dressed Ellen Pompeo and Madonna on her recent tour.

Fiona Heaney from FeeG told me how Anne Anderson, the Irish Ambassador to the US has worn the label, buying it when she's back home.

Jewellery designer Chupi Sweetman Dornan and bridal designer, Delphine Grandjouan both flew from France for the event. Against the Manhattan skyline, the designs looked very colourful, especially Helen Steele's SS16 collection.

After a night of networking, the designers attended the after party at The Green Room on East 23rd Street.

Drag queens and tattooed ladies on RTE2 menu

By Kirsty Blake Knox

The 'yoof' of today, BDSM masterclasses, and drag queens all took centre stage at RTE 2's autumn launch in Montrose this week.

"I feel ancient," RTE's Managing Director Glen Killane said glancing around the brightly lit studio as indie band Ham Sandwich and bright eyed presenters jostled about.

Newly single Vogue Williams was "super excited" about her upcoming series Mean Girls which sees her interview call girls and dominatrices.

"I went to a weird sex dungeon in London," Vogue said proudly.

"RTE paid for me to get a massage off a male gigolo."

So that's where the license fee goes.

"They paid for me to see a gigolo too," comedian Al Porter quipped.

"But the less said about that the better."

2fm's Louise McSharry was glowing having just returned from Barcelona where she was honeymooning with her husband Gordon Sperrin.

"We spent the whole time eating amazing food and drinking amazing wine," she said.

Winning Streak host Sinead Kennedy then talked about getting "inked up" in front of the cameras for her new show Skin Deep.

"I got a tattoo and before you ask it's not of Marty Whelan's face," she said. Shame.

Former Love/Hate star Susan Loughnane flitted about with the Hardy Bucks Boys.

The alabaster actress is in the middle of writing her second novel and is also busy planning her wedding to fiance David Doyle.

"It's happening next August and he's doing more planning than I am to be honest," she said.

"At the moment I'm just typing away," she added.

Angela Scanlon was still recovering from her run-in with the UK's notorious Katie Hopkins. "I interview her for my show Close Encounters and we locked horns on several occasions."

Baz Ashmawy, the star of 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy and Iron Man Niall Breslin (pictured below) tucked into the pizza slices while Head of RTE 2 Bill Malone caught up with former Voice of Ireland contestant Kelly McDonagh.

Ireland's grand dame Panti Bliss will appear in documentary The Queen of Ireland.

"We've been making it for five years," she said.

"It's about me and modern Ireland."

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