Saturday 24 February 2018

Paul Galvin always wanted to be labelled

Is the GAA star a good catch for Dunnes?

Fashion forward: It's been reported that Paul Galvin has been in talks with Dunnes about his own line
Fashion forward: It's been reported that Paul Galvin has been in talks with Dunnes about his own line
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

Retail giant Dunnes Stores could be about to score another big name, according to reports this week.

Kerry footballer Paul Galvin is believed to be in talks with the department store to join its all-star team of designers.

"Paul approached Dunnes Stores with his idea for a fashion range several months ago," a source told in recent days. "They have been in talks in recent months and both are confident they have a winning combination for customers."

Four-time All-Ireland winner Galvin famously quit teaching to set up his own fashion blog five years ago.

Today, the trendsetting All Star is the most popular GAA player on Twitter with more than 86,000 followers.

"I have always had an interest and love for fashion from when I was young," the 35 year-old told in the past. "I didn't suddenly develop it or propagate it.

"From my earliest memories, I recall being aware of what I wore and didn't wear and how comfortable I felt according to how I dressed," he added. "I have always customised and altered the clothes I wore from my early school days."

Just weeks after sensationally coming out of retirement to rejoin the Kingdom's senior football squad, Galvin is just the latest celebrity to be snapped up by Dunnes as well.

In 2005, the high street institution joined forces with designer-to-the-stars Paul Costelloe in a bid to tackle British brands such as Marks & Spencer in the homeware department.

Ten years on, the internationally-acclaimed couturier has also created a line of menswear, womenswear and childrenswear for the chain.

"What I love is when I'm on a street in Dublin and an elderly lady approaches me and tells me that she loves my stuff," said Costelloe, who has dressed everyone from Kate Middleton to Liza Minnelli. "People who would never normally have walked up to me years ago.

"I now feel part of Ireland - something which I didn't feel before my collaboration with Dunnes."

But Costelloe's latest collection of Italian-made coats and dresses isn't the only thing drawing style-conscious shoppers back to the 70-year-old store - which was last week at the centre of a dispute over working hours and pay.

Renowned Irish designers Carolyn Donnelly, Helen James and Leigh Tucker have also helped transform the shop's image from drab to fab in recent years.

"Before joining Dunnes, I had my own womenswear thing going," childrenswear designer Tucker tells Weekend Review. "When they approached me about doing something together I was a bit reluctant.

"By that stage, I had started making stuff for kids, so I pitched the idea for my Willow range to them and they said, 'Great, let's do it'.

"Myself, Helen and Carolyn are based in the same office, and Paul is over and back from London all the time. It's nice because we can bounce ideas off each other. There's no rivalry.

"Dealing on this kind of scale has been a real learning curve," continues the mum-of-three. "Before I was dealing with small boutiques around Ireland, now my designs are in 25 Dunnes Stores around the country, as well as online.

"I can't speak for anybody else, but they have been amazing to work with. Nobody tries to push you to make something more mainstream and there isn't a button you don't see before the collection hits the shop floor."

Meanwhile, Galvin is the second sports star seemingly being eyed by the retailer which signed golfer Pádraig Harrington last year.

Given his signature style though, the Kerryman's rumoured upcoming collection is more likely to include skinny jeans than polo shirts.

"I'm not a fan of trends," the fashionable forward, who's engaged to Today FM presenter Louise Duffy, has said. "The funniest habit I see amongst the Irish male population is over-sized collars, bootleg jeans and generally wearing clothes that are blatantly too big.

"An emphasis on tailoring and less fabric would be a step in the right direction in my opinion."

One person who won't be in line to get the Galvin look is Graham Norton.

After rubbing shoulders on the Late Late Show last year, the presenter subsequently told listeners of his BBC radio show about the athlete's distinctive brand of 'tramp chic'.

"Ryan had me on the Late Late Show last night," he recounted on air. "Dermot O'Leary, [Madness frontman] Suggs and then he had a Kerry footballer who also does a fashion blog.

"It seems unlikely, I know," he joked. "It's more unlikely when you see him. I saw him walk out of the toilet and I thought, 'What an attractive tramp. How did he get in?'"

Nonetheless, stylist and TV presenter Darren Kennedy reckons Dunnes has hit the back of the net with Galvin: "It's a great move on behalf of Dunnes.

"Paul has a definite idea of what his aesthetic is, and that's what it's all about.

"Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry, but let's be honest, we're not saving lives. If someone wears the wrong colour or pattern, the world isn't going to stop turning on its axis.

"I like a guy who takes fashion risks," adds The Unemployables presenter, who's set to launch his fourth collection for Louis Copeland later this month, "and Paul certainly does that.

"I'm not going to offer him any advice - he knows exactly what he's doing."

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