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Treacy to judge the racy ladies

And they're off! The battle to be first past the post in the fashion stakes will be waged at Leopardstown racecourse next month for the annual Best Dressed Lady contest.

Always a popular event among the capital's style queens, next month's event is expected to be particularly well attended given that it's been revealed that Galway-born milliner Philip Treacy will be the main judge.

One of our most acclaimed exports, the top designer has worked with everyone from Gianni Versace and Valentino while also dressing some of the biggest celebrities across the water.

He most memorably designed the stylish hat worn by Camilla Parker Bowles for her wedding to Prince Charles in 2005 as well as Sarah Jessica Parker's hat for the premiere of Sex And The City movie.

Now he'll be casting his expert eye over our aspiring fashion contenders at the February 7 event, which will coincide with the Hennessy Gold Cup.

This is the fourth year the style competition has been run, with an overall prize of €4,000 voucher from the Design Centre in Powerscourt up for grabs for the winner. The runner-up will also receive a €1,000 voucher from the same boutique, which houses creations from John Rocha, Ben De Lisi, Synan O'Mahony and John McCormack.