Sunday 25 February 2018

Bairbre Power... the west's awake

Fashion entrepreneurs brighten up the Galway landscape

Designed in Galway, crafted in Italy, Ciara Silke's abstract wave print in purple and cream (200 x 60cm) costs €200
Designed in Galway, crafted in Italy, Ciara Silke's abstract wave print in purple and cream (200 x 60cm) costs €200
Ciara Silke's monochrome floral (100 x 100cm) is €180, from
Beautiful You 'Patricia' dress, €149. Photo: Andrew Downes
Palazza pants
Oasis top
Oasis skirt
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

I 've often thought there must be something in the drinking water in Co Galway that gifts us so many amazingly talented milliners, starting with the wonderful Philip Treacy. The talent continues to reach for the sky, and Galway-born milliners like Mark T Burke, Edel Ramberg and Caithríona King were the talk of the Galway races this week.

Ballybrit is such a vital place, a busy hub of women who truly love their fashion, and many want to take it into their own hands. Last year it was hard to miss the colourful Ciara Silke, an NCAD graduate who worked with global luxury brand Diane Von Furstenburg at their New York HQ. Her cashmere and modal blend scarves feature bold graphic imagery and I can see that the range is developing nicely. Available in various sizes from, the scarves are also stocked at The Design Centre in Dublin, Les Jumelles in Galway, Millars in Clifden, Rudi and Madison in Greystones, Seagreen in Monkstown and Ranelagh, and the boutique at Ashford Castle in Cong, Co Mayo.

Another one of my Galway race day 'discoveries' is Patricia O'Toole, the dynamic tour de force behind the range, Beautiful You ( This mum-of-two has a story that will resonate with so many readers. The 'tummy' didn't vanish after her sons were born so, after living in New York, she came back to Connemara and had the vision, and tenacity, to develop a range of slimming clothing that have a stretchy, built-in lining that offers hidden support.

But here comes the contradiction - the pieces cinch you in yet they are hugely comfortable and the comfort word is rarely partnered with the word shapewear.

I was thrilled for Patricia to see so many women out and about wearing her 'Mary' wrap dress and 'Shonagh' wrap top on her local 'turf' during race week. Anything that streamlines your silhouette and offers extra confidence is to be applauded. It is clear from her second collection that Patricia has drilled down what women want from clothes. The 'Anna' skirt has a draped, wrap-over panel which falls to the knee. The built-in shapewear runs from waist to knee and there are jackets available, also in red, black and grey, to match the skirt, so you can create a business suit with secret, hidden assets.

Patricia listens to feedback from customers buying her range at Vanity Fair in Newbridge and those calling to the boutique she set up at her Moyard home, on the N59 between Clifden and Kylemore. Fashion tourism in Connemara. Love it!



Last week I was squealing with a mixture of delight, and relief, after discovering a honey of a hair product. I was doing telly the next day and had missed my hair colour appointment. A little rainbow of grey roots were beaming at me and I was not beaming back. Then I was introduced to Wow colour root cover-up, which camouflages grey roots instantly. My palette had a panel of yellowish powder, like an eye make-up highlighter, which I dabbed onto dry hair with a soft brush. Happily, I watched the blueish-white hue that nasty grey hairs possess disappear in front of my eyes. There are seven different shades, from blonde through to black, and palettes cost €38. GO TO: I found my Wow palette in platinum at Brown Sugar hair salon, 50 South William Street, Dublin 2, (01) 616-9967, but they are also stocked at selected salons nationwide.

Late summer florals

I wrote about the V&A print collection at Oasis earlier in the year but now my favourite pieces from the collection have finally arrived into store. The top (€50) and matching skirt (€75) look a dream worn together.

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