Bairbre Power... Out and about
Our resident diarist calls into the best parties and events around the country
It was so worth it dashing home from a break at the Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds to be back in Dublin on Thursday for top-secret surprise party of the season - Breege O'Donoghue's retirement party after 37 years with Penneys.
The Primark crew at the company's Parnell Street HQ did everything to hide the event from Breege, even telling her that the main lift was broken and bringing her up in the goods inwards so she wouldn't spot guests arriving into Arthur Ryan House.
Guests had travelled from all over for the party and included George Weston, CEO of Associated British Foods, who own Primark, as well as Penneys' founder, Arthur Ryan, and his wife Alma. Paul Marchant, CEO of Primark, was photographed with Breege, who looked fab on her last day, wearing a Louise Kennedy dress. Newstalk's Pat Kenny acted as MC for the seated event, with the Primark team leaning in to watch from the open-plan offices spanning above. Pat stepped into a kind of Eamonn Andrews role, armed with a 'This is Your Career' white book for which I had penned a few lines. After working with Breege, I was honoured to be one of three fashion print journalists invited to speak on the night.
Designer Louise Kennedy sent her tribute and congratulations by video, and so too did national soccer hero Mick McCarthy, but that was only a ruse, and Mick walked out from behind the screen to thunderous applause, to be enveloped in a huge hug by a visibly delighted Breege. Talk about a dynamo, Breege flew a staggering 2.2 million miles during her career - that's the equivalent of five trips to the moon. Methinks there's a book in the titian-haired powerhouse from Boston, north Clare.
London Fashion Week beckoned the next day and at Paul Costelloe's show, I chatted with Nicola Hughes (ex Made in Chelsea after her break-up with Alex Mytton), who told me she is designing a collection for a store on the King's Road. "I'm only going to design things I'd wear," said Nicola, who is still intent on a career in front of the cameras. Next day at the Simone Rocha show, I sat beside the charming singer Tallia Storm, who was discovered at 13 by Sir Elton John.
I chatted with the uber-stylish Rosie Fortescue after the Aquascutum show at LFW and discovered she is coming to Dublin next weekend for the Arnotts Style Sessions, which run from Thursday to Sunday. Model, blogger and Made in Chelsea star Rosie will be hosting two fashion shows in the Henry Street store at 2.30pm and 3.30pm next Saturday, and intends highlighting the trends and tips on being 'London chic'. Rosie told me how she is loving tailoring at the moment, especially her Reiss trouser suit, and she is open to the idea of doing a fashion collaboration. I'm looking forward to having a longer chat with Rosie in Dublin, and I'll be in Arnotts next Thursday for the 1pm and 8pm fashion shows which will be expertly styled and accessorised to perfection by top stylist Sinead Keenan.
Congrats to designer Joanne Hynes, pictured with her partner, John Maher, at the launch of her new collection for Dunnes Stores. The VIP at the event was their two-week old son, Faolán, whose adorable name means 'little wolf'.