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Bairbre Power on black tie invitations and other adventures

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Don O'Neill's crepe polo top which has great back detail and the full circle chiffon skirt

Don O'Neill's crepe polo top which has great back detail and the full circle chiffon skirt

Grown up floral dress with voluminous skirt and slim, pared back, cream top with subtle capped sleeve

Grown up floral dress with voluminous skirt and slim, pared back, cream top with subtle capped sleeve

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Don O'Neill's crepe polo top which has great back detail and the full circle chiffon skirt

I smiled when it plopped onto the mat, an invite to the birthday of a dear friend and then I spied those words: BLACK TIE.

My smile vanished as quick as it had landed and I grimaced at the thought of having to do long and formal in the third week of January. I'm only getting over Christmas and I've mentally moved into trainers and walking gear, a gazillion miles away from glam gúnas, clutches and chandelier earrings. As this is a fashion crowd party, they've probably all seen my wardrobe heroes already so that means only one thing - a new posh frock.

Why is it that we dread black-tie events? The rules have relaxed hugely in our favour. Just as the men have dumped the dickie bow in favour of ties or open-neck dress shirt, womens' hemlines have shortened too.

Now, anything goes - including the quirky combo of shrunken biker jacket and big ballgown. It was while watching the Golden Globes' red carpet at midnight last Sunday that the invitation haze lifted and I began to focus on frocks. No, I don't intend doing the whole long gloves thing like Amal Alamuddin, but Mrs Clooney certainly did give us food for thought on how to lift an impossibly plain black dress and inject some old Hollywood glamour.

The Grecian vibe and divine gentle draping of Emily Blunt's white dress by Michael Kors instantly brought to mind the ultra-feminine, soft draping that Umit Kutluk is doing in his SS15 collection (pictured top left).

His is one of the new labels at Arnotts this season along with Emma Manley, Caroline Kilkenny and Amanda Wakeley. You can now find a capsule collection of Umit's latest range at the Henry Street store as well as his couture salon on Dublin's Merrion Square.

I've pretty much lost my heart to the vintage shape of the long prom dress. Prada did it so compellingly two years ago. For those girls who want to hit upon something striking and mid-calf for their new 2015 look, check out Self Portrait which is on its second season at BT2, Grafton Street.

Be warned, this label has the power to seduce and this cream dress (pictured top right) can morph from day occasion to dressy night, cocktails to dinner. Dress it with a high ponytail and you are a modern Grace Kelly.

@bairbrepower

Celeb style

It's always nice to be surprised by an Irish designer and that's exactly what happened when Don O'Neill, creative director of Theia

It's always nice to be surprised by an Irish designer and that's exactly what happened when Don O'Neill, creative director of Theia in NYC  dressed Khloe Kardashian for the E! Golden Globes party. Stylist Rob Zangardi introduced Khloe to Don's crepe polo top which has great back detail and the full circle chiffon skirt, great for dancing with a thigh-high slash. Khloe loved it and we will too when it goes on sale for $795 in the US. For info, contact facebook.com/THEIACOUTURE. Meanwhile, closer to home, Don's SS15 collection has been bought by the eagle-eyed Tucker sisters from Costume on Dublin's Castle Market and their incoming delivery will include this very romantic, grown up floral dress (pictured above right) with voluminous skirt and slim, pared back, cream top with subtle capped sleeve. The dress will cost around €1,650.

Irish Independent