Don the darling
HE'S been stealing the hearts of the ladies of Kerry since breaking onto the fashion scene many years ago and on Sunday night Ballyheigue designer Don O'Neill sensationally stole the show at the 2014 Kerryman/Rose of Tralee international fashion spectacular.
As I drove home from the Dome on Sunday night after another amazing event, I was trying to come up with adequate words that could do justice to Don's show-stopping finale. I wanted those who missed the fashion spectacular to get a real sense of what Don's latest THEIA runway show embodied and just how glorious his creations were but, if I'm honest, words really do fail me.
The theatrical production, wonderfully choreographed by Don's partner, Pascal Guillermie, delivered everything you would expect from the New York based designer - jaw dropping creativity in each and every gown, coupled with dramatic music and lighting to create a real magical, mesmerising show.
Dedicated to his late mum, Mim, Don's Fall 2014 collection was simply breathtaking, with each and every piece receiving a round of applause from the 1,600 men and women in the audience
With the greatest of respect to the county's amazing designers - of which there are so many - Don O'Neill is in league of his own. He probably won't like me saying that, because he has such admiration for his fellow designers, but anyone who was lucky enough to witness his latest collection on Sunday night will agree.
He promised high octane, red carpet glamour and he delivered that and more. His dresses were simply breathtaking, with the attention to detail and stunning imagination, creativity and talent evident in each and every one. You could see that the ladies in the audience were mesmerised by the breathtaking gowns, each one more beautiful than the next.
The show stopper for me was a stunning white bridal gown - complete with sheer, long sleeve cape - from his Spring 2015 White Collection. A close second was another wedding dress - Don's stunning gold, backless floor-length 'Ava' dress from the current Fall collection.
It's very easy to throw around words like breathtaking, mesmerising, stunning and magnificent when talking about a Don O'Neill show without being over the top, yet those words just don't seem enough for what took place on the Dome stage on Sunday. The collection was absolutely awe-inspiring and to see Don's family in tears as he took to the runway after the show showed exactly what it means to everyone.
This is someone who has taken his incredible talent to an international stage yet still loves to return home to showcase his work, where he never fails to wow. And wow he did - again!