Monday 23 April 2018

The Edge: Perfect 10 Sarah makes big splash as Seagreen's so smart supremo

Seagreen owner Sarah Gill has been dressing the South Dublin fashionistas for a decade now. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Seagreen owner Sarah Gill has been dressing the South Dublin fashionistas for a decade now. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Claire Byrne
Amy Huberman
New York feels like a second home to Guggi
Birthday girl Fiona Gratzer and her mother Agnes McCourt with Rod Stewart at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin last week
Pippa O'Connor at the RHA last week. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Alison Doody
Michael Colgan. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography

Someone stop me before I turn into Grace Coddington. (With these Titian tresses of mine, I could well be the ginge-deity of US Vogue, in a certain light.)

Join me in raising a glass of something bubbly to Seagreen, one of Ireland's great independent fashion establishments, which is celebrating a decade in business. Owner Sarah Gill and her team at Seagreen have inspired - and dressed - the fashionistas through the boom and out the other side of the recession.

Claire Byrne

The ultra-luxury ladies clothing and lifestyle boutique in Monkstown is a second home to the likes of Alison Doody, Claire Byrne, above, Lorraine Keane, who shop there regularly. Amy Huberman, below, Angela Scanlon and Holly Carpenter are also regulars in Seagreen at Ranelagh.The brains - to say nothing of the beauty - behind Seagreen - Co Clare dynamo Sarah told me that the past 10 years have been "a whirlwind."

Amy Huberman

"I couldn't be more excited about celebrating 10 years in business," Sarah added of her company's incredible success story. "We are fortunate to have built up a wonderful customer base, many of whom have been there from the start! We are always taking on new labels and discovering the 'next big thing'.

"As a bona-fide shopper myself, I know the importance and urgency fashion has to those who love it. When I see a new trend emerging or an amazing designer making the headlines in New York, I don't want to have to wait until the following season to be able to make that addition to my wardrobe. At Seagreen, we act fast and get those pieces in immediately.

''As an independent retailer, there's more flexibility in that way, I guess it's part of what sets us apart."

Sarah can remember the day that they got JBrand into the store. ''We were the first retailer in Ireland to stock the brand, and our customers felt just as I did - I just had to have those jeans. It's tough to compete with international stores and online; my team and I have to be really on the top of our game to make sure we continue to thrive. Personally, I much prefer shopping in smaller independent stores.'' Clearly, her loyal customers over the last decade at Seagreen agree.

Join me in raising another glass of something bubbly to their next decade - and to Sarah keeping her competitors green around the gills with envy.

Guggi takes Manhattan but avoids Trump in his Tower 

New York feels like a second home to Guggi

New York feels like a second home to Guggi

'Every child is an artist," Picasso once said. "The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Well, I've always thought that Guggi - with his long hair and his long school coat  - looks like a big kid, don't you think?

He unveiled his latest exhibition last Friday night in New York. His third exhibition no less in the Big Apple. Well, I suppose if he can make it there he can make it anywhere. The great and the good of the city were expected at the Yoshii Gallery on Madison Avenue for the Irish artist's latest opus entitled This Is Not a Hotel.

I was going to jet over for the opening night but then your man got elected and I decided to go for a pint in the local instead. I asked Guggi if he was going to use his time in Manhattan productively and visit the President-elect in his Tower on Fifth Avenue.

"He is not on my Christmas card list, let's just say," he replied on the phone.

The exhibition's title was inspired by what Guggi's late father Robert used to say to him at the dinner table at home on North Dublin's Cedarwood Road.

"I would put too much butter on the bread at tea time and he would give me a clip around the ear and say 'This is not a hotel!'"

"So it was one of my dad's old phrases," Guggi told me, adding that Jim Sheridan wrote the foreword to the booklet for the exhibition.

Guggi added that New York holds a special place in his maverick heart.

"I have felt like it was a second home for me ever since I played there for the first time with the Virgin Prunes in 1982.

"We played the Danceteria and I heard - though I didn't see him with my own eyes - a rumour that Jean-Michel Basquiat was in the audience that night," Guggi says referring to the legendary artist who died before his time in 1988.

There was a rumour that half of Dublin's more exalted characters were expected to pitch up at the Yoshii Gallery last Friday.

I'd tell you now but Guggi would probably give me a clip around the ear like his da used to give him.

You'll have to wait until next week's column.

Fiona's birthday bash with rock legend Rod

Birthday girl Fiona Gratzer and her mother Agnes McCourt with Rod Stewart at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin last week

Birthday girl Fiona Gratzer and her mother Agnes McCourt with Rod Stewart at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin last week

She wears it well. Fiona Gratzer wore an Alaia black dress when she met Rod  Stewart last Wednesday night in Restaurant  Patrick Guilbaud on Upper Merrion Street, Dublin. It wasn't a dinner a deux, of course.

Rod - playing two nights at the 3Arena in Dublin - was having dinner with his daughters.

Fiona was celebrating her birthday in her favourite restaurant with her two grown-up children, Luca and Mila, her mother Agnes, and sister Emer (who travelled from London), and her brother Ciaran, who flew in specially from Florida.

"It was a family affair," Fiona told me. "It was just fab."

But back to Rod. The Scottish superstar heard that it was Princess Fiona's birthday and went over and sang Happy Birthday to her in front of the entire restaurant.

He then gave Fiona's mother Agnes a big hug, wished the beautiful birthday girl many happy returns, and posed for a picture for this column with the two of them.

"What a great start to this new chapter," Fiona told me. Fiona is the managing director of Unislim (a company founded by Fiona's mother, Agnes, in 1972) and she deserves all the happiness in the world - and indeed in the new chapter of her life.

Lest we forget - and Fiona and her two children never will - Fiona's husband Uwe was cruelly taken from her in a motorbike accident in June, 2015.

Christmas in Dubai for Pippa

Pippa O'Connor at the RHA last week. Photo: Brian McEvoy

It was a case of Happy Mondays. Everyone from Nadia Forde, Cassie Stokes to Diana Bunici pitched up in all of their finery for the launch of the debut collection, denim POCO by Pippa has at the RHA Gallery in Dublin last Monday.

Though, I'm sure, every Monday is happy Monday for the designer-of-the-moment, Pippa O'Connor.

My Deep Throat in her camp tells me that the star and her husband, Brian, are planning on jetting to Dubai over the Christmas for a well-deserved Yuletide break.

The reason I say that this scheduled sojourn in the United Arab Emirates is well earned is because Pippa O'Connor has had a great year by anyone's standards. Everything she touches seems to turn to gold.

Which used to be said of Christian Stokes, back in the days when he was running Residence in the boom with his brother Simon... This was before it all went sour - and he and his bro were not returning PAYE and PRSI for employees on their wages. But I digress.

Last weekend the party is doubtless back on because, Christian, and his wife Louise were at dinner in Wilde in the Westbury with stylist Ingrid Hoey and her husband Neil. Louise looked fab in a patterned sleeveless top.

Isn't life grand?

Alison - is she the new African Queen?

Alison Doody

The African Queen returns? My moles inform me that Alison Doody - the Grace Kelly lookalike who used to be married to Gavin O'Reilly - has just returned from Kenya.

She was spotted in The Green Hen restaurant on Exchequer Street last month looking - as she always does - alluring.

Another Irish beauty, jeweller Danielle Hayes, has just returned from the big rugby game in Chicago.

While another Irish girl who is always returning from somewhere or other - Blaise O'Donnell, was in Zozimus Bar off South Anne Street last weekend with some pals.

Meanwhile the Irish Hospice held a soiree at the Seafood Bar by Wrights of Howth on Dawson Street on Wednesday night. Martina Fox, who runs the extremely hip restaurant, welcomed everyone, from Liam Cunningham to Gillian Ronan and many more.

The restaurant is so hip that it also had the speakers from the Dublin InfoSec conference (also incredibly hip) dine there on Tuesday night. A great night was had by all. And a great meal.

Michael Colgan begins his long goodbye to the Gate with The Heiress

Michael Colgan. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography

It will be an emotional night at The Gate next Wednesday for the opening night of The Heiress. The extra frisson is because artistic director Michael Colgan, above, will be departing his post soon.

"We last did The Heiress in 1997 and it was a great success then," he told me when we met for lunch. "All my children are coming - rare enough given that Richard works in Zurich, but he's flying in for it specially."

Others attending on the evening include Mary Finan, Aoibhin Garrihy, Gay Byrne and wife Kathleen, Rhona Blake and husband Charlie, to watch Karen McCartney play heiress Catherine Sloper.

"It's a huge break for Karen. She has just come out of drama school and went through intensive auditions to get the part. I'm convinced this is the beginning of a successful career.

"Besides her new beginning as an heiress, the other 'heiress' at the Gate opening will be Selina Cartmell who takes over from yours truly on April Fool's Day," Colgan told me.

"This will be my third last show and it will be followed in January with the musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Then my last show in March is an homage or salute to my three heroes - Beckett, Friel and Pinter.

"A farewell festival known as BFP. Besides standing for Beckett, Friel Pinter," Colgan added, "it also stands for Big Farewell Party."

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