Saturday 24 February 2018

The Edge: Emma is hanging up her boots and Victoria's egg hunt

Fashion goodbye: Emma English will be slipping out of her thigh-highs.
Fashion goodbye: Emma English will be slipping out of her thigh-highs.
Men: Dating is on Norah's bucket list. But not just yet.
With love: From left, Marty Whelan, Linda Martin, Brendan O’Connor, and Debbie Deegan at ‘Clontarf Does Strictly’.
Poems please: Actress Lisa Dwan at the Abbey Theatre for the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour. Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Tatiana Ouliankina
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Emma English is hanging up her boots. Her thigh-high Chanel boots, that is. FAI boss John Delaney's prepossessing other-half is retiring from fashion show production.

She will put on her last ever fashion show on April 7 in Dublin. She told me she will be "very sad because fashion and producing these events has been a huge part of my life. I love the aspect of creating something really exciting. I'll miss that part of it and the adrenaline that you get from putting all the pieces together. So it will be a sad goodbye but it will be a great night," Emma said, referring to The Freedom Of Dublin Charity Fashion Show at CityWest Hotel for The John Giles Foundation and The Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People. Those modelling on the night include Gilesy himself, Eamon Dunphy, Ray Houghton, Bernard Dunne, Jason McAteer, Brian Kennedy (who'll also sing), Alan Kelly, and, among many others, me.

"I'm also planning a flamboyant Victoria Secrets-style fashion show with Virginia Macari showing off her new swimwear range." (No need to panic: Dunphy, Kelly and Co won't be in barely-there bikinis. That part of the show will feature professional female models.) "The show in CityWest is going to be an amazing night," said Emma, "a great night for Dublin. I'm going out with a bang."

Lucky John Delaney.

This is Emma's last show because she has had a major international fashion-related visual character in development for the last year, and which she will be launching early in 2017. "It is all based on a cool , quirky young girl who has a positive message for teenage girls who maybe have struggled in life through bullying or whatever. She will appear in a whole range of cool things for young kids, like clothes, books, shoes, shampoos, coffees. Anything. This is going to be huge globally."

I remember Denis O'Brien saying to me in the John The Baptist documentary about Delaney in 2014 that "John Delaney could run anything. John Delaney could run UEFA easily. He could run FIFA as far as I'm concerned - certainly better than Sepp ... [former President of FIFA], and more honestly."

It seems Emma English could run anything too.

Norah to swim with sharks before dating

Some things are particularly difficult to fathom. Like Gerry Adams ever in Cabinet (personally, I'd need to raid the drinks cabinet to get my head around that.) Like Donald Trump's toupee waking up every morning on a White House pillow. Like Vincent Browne's mouth closed.

Or like Norah Casey not actually having been on one single date since she broke up with her fire-fighter boyfriend Peter Allen in October 2014. The RTE broadcaster clearly needs someone to relight her fire if it has truly been that long. At the risk of Norah hauling me painfully over the coals, I told her that I didn't believe her that she hadn't been on any dates since the split. "My problem is," she replied, "I've too many dates - in my calendar. . .!

"I flew a plane last week at the National Flight Centre in Weston, then went white water-rafting on the Liffey, then screeched around Mondello. Find me a man that can compete with that and I'll go on a date with him!

"I was scared of them. So I had to do them. Dating is definitely on the bucket list because that's scary as hell, but it's not next on my list. That comes after I've swum with sharks!"

This could be a preparation subconsciously to build up to the challenge of dating Irish men, I say.

"You need to build up to that challenge all right!" laughed Norah, who was in Richard Corrigan's restaurant in the Savoy last Wednesday in London to conduct a public interview with our own Rachel Allen. "Rachel spoke out against fad foods," Norah told me, "and said everything in moderation is her motto."

Norah is taking the moderation in love too far, don't you think?

Victoria goes on the hunt in LA - for Easter eggs

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old. 

Victoria Smurfit - who looks more like 32 than the 42 she'll turn on March 31 - certainly adheres to this philosophy of age-defying joie de vivre. . .

The Irish superstar based in Los Angeles told your diarist (I mean, who else is she going to tell?) that Easter will be especially exciting for her because, "Well, it's my birthday weekend then too. So it will probably be with my family around a friend's pool sipping sangria - and," she said with a huge laugh, "wiping melted chocolate from the kids' faces!"

That's the spirit, Victoria.

"My great pal, artist Susan Broussard, usually hosts an egg hunt at her house, which the kids adore," added the award-winning thesp (Best Actress at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase for her role in Amnesia in 2014), who was in Vancouver last week filming the lead role of Cruella de Vil in ABC's smash-hit Once Upon A Time. "I haven't told Susan yet - but that's my plan! She can read it in your paper!"

Easter egg hunt or not, there is a new spring in Victoria's step, possibly related to the fact that she's dating Alex Ramsden.

There are pictures - ski-ing, at parties in La La Land etc - on her Instagram account that showed herself and Alex in what can only be described as loved-up mode.

Mutual friends of the Dublin beauty say she deserves it.

Linda would be quick to judge

It was all go in Clontarf last weekend. No - seriously. Marty Whelan, Linda Martin and Brendan O'Connor added va-va-voom to the judging panel at the Clontarf Does Strictly event in the Crowne Plaza last Sunday night.

The packed crowd enjoyed priceless banter and the like from the three stars. And all for a great cause too - Debbie Deegan's To Children With Love: Changing People's Lives (yes, Debbie has changed the name of the charity, To Russia With Love, because she is now helping kids in Ireland as well as in Mother Russia). The proceedings with Bren'n'Marty last weekend must have whetted her appetite for judging, because when I put it to Linda that she would be sensational doing the same on Louis Walsh's imminent new TV talent show, she said: "I'd love to do the new show."

Has her VBF Louis been in touch about it?

"Yes, we always talk, but RTE are in control."

Louis - pick up the phone to the DG in Montrose pronto.

Baron Bono and Baroness Ali light up  the Abbey

I'd have thought Bono would have stayed in on Sunday evening to watch The Voice of Ireland on the telly.  To keep up with the kids and all that? Still, Bono has no doubt forgotten more about innovation in music than the kids will ever know. But I digress.

Bono and his lovely other half Ali were at The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin last Sunday evening. Maurice Saatchi, the husband of the late novelist Josephine, sat with Bono and Ali. Given that Maurice's official title is Baron Saatchi, I wonder was the U2 singer musing throughout the proceedings that Baron Bono has a certain ring.Perhaps he didn't have time to entertain such thoughts as he was enjoying it all so much. At one point Bob Geldof broke off from reading a poem because he said he was too distracted by gorgeous Sinead Cusack (sitting on Sir Bob's left), in particular, by her stocking-clad legs. "The stockings, Sinead", Bob moaned, "the stockings"

Hardly missing a beat, the owner of those pretty pins turned to Bob and said: "The title of the next poem exlains it all. No Country For Old Men." Everyone at the Abbey laughed - including, admirably, Sir Bob and Baron Bono.

Baron Bono and Baroness Ali seem to be going out to all the right events lately. They were at the three day wedding of Bono's niece Emma at Rathsallagh House in Wicklow on New Year's Eve.

Tatiana - Putin on the Ritz in Miami...


Tatiana Ouliankina

Smurf's up? It was in The Seafood Bar restaurant in The Dawson Hotel last week. This I say as a very chic-looking Norma Smurfit came in with a gang.

And not just any gang either. Last Saturday night, Smurfit's crew included Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin, Orla de Brí and husband Finn.

They had cocktails in The Funky Fish first at 8pm, then had a meal in David Wright's swanky establishment on Dawson Street. Also in that night for dinner were Des McEvaddy's ex Mary Coffee and her pal Clodagh O'Kane.

Meanwhile, Michelle Rocca's beautiful daughter Danielle Rocca Devine got her Masters last week, and last Saturday went to Sophie's in The Dean on Harcourt Street to celebrate with some glam gal pals.

Still on the subject of glamour, Dublin-based Tatiana Ouliankina (above), once of Fair City, is currently in Miami (with her husband John and their two kids) visiting her cousin Elena.

"I didn't see her for a while!" she told me down the blower from Florida. (Please note: I want you, dear reader, to try your hardest to imagine all of what Tatiana said with a colourfully camp Russian accent . . .)

"She got married to a Cuban guy. And now it's all Hispanic! Nobody speaks English anymore! And we all like Latinos - eating tapas on the beach!"

Nyet! Nyet! Nyet! Tats, all this Putin on the Ritz in Miami is making the Irish nation jealous.

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