Monday 21 May 2018

Presidential welcome for Bill at private Irish dinner

Hillary and Bill Clinton with John Fitzpatrick at a previous event
Hillary and Bill Clinton with John Fitzpatrick at a previous event
Pippa O'Connor
Designer Peter O'Brien and 'Red Rock' star Cathy Belton at Dunnes Stores fashion launch

US hotelier John Fitzpatrick and Denis O'Brien co-hosted a private dinner for President Bill Clinton in John's Wicklow home while Clinton was in town last week. Fitzpatrick is a long-time supporter of President Clinton and his wife Hillary, and was a member of her finance committee during her election campaign.

Among the dinner guests on Tuesday night were Rory McIlroy and his wife Erica, Sarah Rafferty (the actress who plays Donna in mega-hit American TV legal drama Suits), Leslie Buckley, Ian Hyland, David Cronin, New York lawyer Brian O'Dwyer and Mark Roden.

Calum Best, Bressie and Brippa out on the town

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Pippa O'Connor
 

They waited until the midnight hour last weekend. Pippa O'Connor (pictured) and Brian Ormond, that is, who popped into House last Friday night at midnight with a group of friends - among them blogger pal Ellen Kavanagh Jones and her husband, Conrad. 

My sources tell me they had Champagne in the garden until late.

On the following night at around 1am, Bressie and Eoghan McDermott arrived in the same hot spot on Leeson Street for drinks in the garden until close. On the same night across in Xico on Lower Baggot Street, Irish rugby star Cian Healy pitched up (rugby star? pitched up? geddit?) with a large group of friends - as did Calum Best at about 2am, with friends.

She came, she went, and now she's all over the place

The bitch went back to America at the end of September - hopefully to give Trump hell, or more probably to steal someone's man at the altar.

I am, of course, taking about conniving man-eater Ingrid Gleeson, played by Vivienne Connolly in Fair City. With this sudden window in her busy schedule, Vivienne is using her free time productively.

As well as working on her long awaited - and still to be launched - website, Vivienne flew to London this weekend with her teenage daughter Katie. As if that wasn't enough excitement for one girl - even a Carlow girl like Vivienne, who has long since taken Dublin by storm - next weekend she is flying to the Algarve for a fitness week with Algarve Fitness.

To what end, I wondered aloud in the general direction of Ms Connolly. How is her love life?

"Love life?" she laughed.

"My kids..." Vivienne said, referring to the aforesaid Katie and her other child with ex-husband Mark Dunne, Ben Jr, "...take the lead in that role."

Peter O'Brien says yes to the dress at Dunnes

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Designer Peter O'Brien and 'Red Rock' star Cathy Belton at Dunnes Stores fashion launch
 

It's Thursday morning. So it must be the Gate theatre, where Peter O'Brien's latest collection was unveiled. The new collection possessed all O'Brien's signature, understated glamour, or "quiet drama" as actor Cathy Belton (who interviewed Peter at the Gate) called it. The location is apt. Peter has designed the costumes for many of the Gate's foremost period dramas (are there any other kind at the Gate?) including A Woman of No Importance, in which Cathy starred. "I played this socialite with an evil tongue and I remember the silk made a noise before I arrived. Me and Peter decided it was part of the character," the lovely Cathy noted. "As well as me speaking in the play, the dress spoke."

Peter recalled how his interest in fashion was ignited when, as a child, he saw Joan Crawford in Humoresque - "her story was tragic, she ended up walking into the water. All I could think about was how her beautiful beaded gown was ruined."

Peter spoke glowingly about the latest woman in his life, Mrs Margaret Heffernan, the magnificent doyenne of Dunnes, who enabled him to produce such a divine collection, using his favourite fabrics and with all his hallmarks, white collars, nipped-in waists, full skirts, fluted sleeves. Someone stop me before I get carried away with all this giddy talk of nipped-in waists, full skirts, fluted sleeves. Peter refused to talk too much about the clothes: "no one wants to hear a grown man talking about fluted sleeves". (Oh, I don't know. It never stopped me.) But clearly they do want him to design them. The sense I got was that everyone present was anxious to dash up to Grafton Street to Dunnes Stores to get their hands on their particular favourite coats and dresses. Cathy, however, has a different type of dress in mind. She will be tying the knot next summer in an intimate ceremony in the south of France. No prizes for guessing who is designing the dress.

Tatiana in Marbs, Lisa heading to Mount Juliet

Tatiana Ouliankina, the Dublin-based beauty who once upon a time played Lana in Fair City, is learning Spanish at the Instituto Cervantes. How do I know this precious piece of information? She told me. I am looking forward to the mix of Spanish, Rusky and Dublinese the next time I meet her. Which won't be for a while as Tatiana is off to Marbella for Halloween with her husband John Moore and their kids.

I'm not entirely convinced Spanish will come in too handy over there as the residents of Marbs tend to be Euro-trash, talking pidgin English. Be that as it may, Tats did tell me she was dressing up as a ladybird with a glass of sangria. "Red suits me."

Former Xpose star Lisa Cannon is interviewing Conor McGregor at Halloween for her movie show on 3e, Box Office. But she will be making up for not going away by spending Christmas in Mount Juliet, Kilkenny, with her dad Mick and her husband Richard.

As for ringing in the New Year, Lisa - who interviewed Colin Farrell last week in London - is weighing up either Scotland for a highland fling with Richard or slightly further afield.

Personally, I'd go for the fling.

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