NOT even a global pandemic could stop the glamour of Ladies’ Day at the Galway Races, with the high style event proving a virtual hit, showcasing a Grace Kelly inspired winner.
Elegantly dressed women across the country, dressed to the nines and posted their photos online, in an attempt to win the coveted crown.
The entrants were whittled down to 10 finalists, with one fashionable competitor, Elizabeth Egan, even bagging a place from Dubai.
As usual fascinators and creative couture was the call of the day and entrants did not fail to inspire, despite missing out on the usual party atmosphere of the racing event.
Winner of ‘best dressed,’ Danielle Gingell, from Claremorris, in Co Mayo, channelled her inner Grace Kelly, dazzling in a large black Arturo Rios bow-tie hat and stunning Self Portrait white dress.
The monochrome look was completed with red lipstick and Ms Gingell looked every inch the Hollywood starlet.
“The style was fantastic, so I’m delighted to win,” Ms Gingell told the Irish Independent.
“I love that old school glamour. The Hollywood stars like Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are my style icons.”
The win was just the boost the 30-year-old dog groomer needed, after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury while riding her horse, Turtle.
“I was due surgery in March but with Covid, it was put on hold, so I’ve been stuck in limbo with it and it’s difficult to get around.
“So, this was just what I needed. It’s great that we could still enter Ladies’ Day, as this year has been terrible so far and it was a great excuse to put a hat on and get dressed up.
“It’s quite funny, I was standing outside, taking a picture and the neighbours were thinking ‘where is this girl off to, getting dressed up?’. But then I just headed back in for a cup of tea.”
Ms Gingell bought her Arturo Rios hat for €280 four years ago and had the piece shipped from the U.S.
The hat designer from Los Angeles, is a favourite of celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna.
She snapped the dress up for half price in a sale for €200 and the outfit also had an outing at the Dublin Horse Show, last year. The entire look was achieved for just €600.
Melissa Carty, 26, from Craughwell, Co Galway, bagged ‘best hat’ with her daring yellow Caithriona King headpiece, a swirl design, complimented by a diamante brooch.
Ms Carty, who owns beauty salon, The Beauty Room in Craughwell, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won. I was at work early in the morning and I took a break in the middle of the day to take my photos.
“When I went back to work, I didn’t realise I was in the top 10 until right before they announced the winners and I was actually showing my client my photos when the notification came in that I had won best hat.”
Ms Carty rented the piece from Galway milliner, King. She had recently worn the headpiece on a modelling shoot and “fell in love with it, so had to hire it for myself this week.”
More than 85 contestants took part in the event from their own homes and helped Ladies’ Day maintain its stylish summer vibe.
One of the most fun, vibrant looks of the day, came from finalist Catherine Furlong, from Co Wexford, who took to her garden to show off her purple off the shoulder horse emblazoned dress, teamed with a yellow and purple fascinator, purple clutch bag and yellow and white leopard print high heels.
Some contestants added a dash of wit to their fashion, dressing up while going about a spot of housework.
Niamh Boyle, from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, looked regal in green, standing in her kitchen.
While Niamh McKeever from Dundalk, Co Louth, posed by a washing line full of glamorous gowns, wearing a blue and white floral dress and blue fascinator.
Louise Allen, from Slane, Co Meath, even got her dog, Sambo, in on the act, posing with the pooch while she moved the lawn in a gorgeous lemon pencil skirt and jacket. Even Ms Allen’s lemon heels didn’t stop the contestant pruning the grass to perfection.
Entrants were asked to make a small donation to the charity of their choice and to post their photos to Instagram.