Thursday 19 September 2019

Creative mum who made her own headpiece wins top prize at Leopardstown Races

Paula Gannon (r) pictured with the other finalists at the Savills Style Awards
Paula Gannon (r) pictured with the other finalists at the Savills Style Awards
Paula Gannon and PJ McCabe were crowned the winners of the Savills Style Awards
Paula Gannon pictured with jockey Sean Flanagan
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

It was fashion-forward art teacher Paula Gannon who won in the style stakes on the third day of the Leopardstown Races today in the Savills Style Awards.

The Roscommon mum-of-two designs headpieces during the school holidays, with her own creation ensuring she was crowned most stylish lady among racegoers today.

With judges keeping an eye out for Irish design on the day, Paula ticked all the boxes in a purple Vivienne O’Connor two-piece outfit, complimented by jewellery from Katie Mullally – a gift from Paula’s husband, Seamus.

She said they were looking forward to enjoying her winnings together, which included an over-night stay in Shelbourne Hotel and a year’s supply of hair-dressing at Peter Marks.

It wasn’t Paula’s first win when it came to her chic wardrobe, scooping best-dressed lady at Kilbeggan twice before.

“It’s my first win here in Leopardstown so I am very excited. I have won a couple before and I am just so excited. I design head-pieces part-time, I’m an art teacher. This is one of my designs and I am wearing Vivienne O’Connor, an Irish designer,” she said.

Winner Carita Conway, centre, 2nd place Emer Kilroy, left , and 3rd place Paula McCormack, right, from at the best dressed ladies competition at the Christmas Racing Festival - Limerick Racecourse
Picture: Caroline Quinn
Winner Carita Conway, centre, 2nd place Emer Kilroy, left , and 3rd place Paula McCormack, right, from at the best dressed ladies competition at the Christmas Racing Festival - Limerick Racecourse Picture: Caroline Quinn
Paula Gannon (r) pictured with the other finalists at the Savills Style Awards
Catherine MCCloskey pictured at The Leopardstown Christmas Festival of Racing PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Laura Hanlon and Grace Ryan pictured at The Leopardstown Christmas Festival of Racing PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Paula McCormack at the Christmas Racing Festival - Limerick Racecourse, Co. Limerick Picture: Caroline Quinn
Kate O’Connor and Aisling Curley pictured at The Leopardstown Christmas Festival of Racing PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Paula Gannon and PJ McCabe were crowned the winners of the Savills Style Awards
Stacey O'Leary, Tasha O'Connor, and sister Jordana Lambadarios at the Christmas Racing Festival - Limerick Racecourse, Co. Limerick. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Winner of the Best dressed ladies competition: Carita Conway, from Castleconnell, Limerick. Christmas Racing Festival - Limerick Racecourse Picture: Caroline Quinn
Aaron O'Connor at the Christmas Racing Festival at the Limerick Racecourse Picture: Caroline Quinn
Among the thousands: Left: Julia Kaulsay and Grainne Hutchinson at the festival yesterday. Photos: Bryan Keane/INPHO
Lisa Morrison with Jean Burlington and Shauna Carbery at the races yesterday

“It is nice to be able to win in Irish and I am so chuffed to win here today because the style is amazing and the prize from Savills is just outstanding – so really looking forward to our overnight in the Shelbourne.”

She explained she had decided on her outfit last month, going for a mix of designer and high-street pieces, her camel coat something she picked up in Zara.  

“My earrings were a gift from my husband,” she added.

While she doesn’t make hats very often other than for a few local weddings, she said there was nowhere better to display her work than at a racing meet such as Leopardstown.

Paula Gannon and PJ McCabe were crowned the winners of the Savills Style Awards
Paula Gannon and PJ McCabe were crowned the winners of the Savills Style Awards

“The best place to showcase them is the races. I’m an art teacher Monday to Friday, September to June and then during the summer I do a few pieces – I don’t work a lot but I do bits and pieces,” she said.

“It’s really just me and my sisters.”

It was also important to the Athlone woman to wear Irish brands at the races – racing is a tradition she considers “fabulously” Irish. 

“Irish love to support Irish and this is a wonderful place to be able to do it,” she said.

Meanwhile, it was PJ McCague, from Co Monaghan, who walked away with the men’s title. Unlike Paula, his win was a first – and completely accidental.

“I never even came with the intention of entering it – I am here babysitting my grandson and I was made tidy myself up before I came and this is what happened. I’ll take it,” he said.

The Clones man looked dapper in a tweed suit with blue shirt and orange tie and matching handkerchief.

“It’s a McGee suit and I have it a long time, it never fails – that’s why you should invest in McGee,” he added.

The third day of the festival was attended by 15,559 racing fans with another great day for bookmakers, with over 1mil wagered again today.

Online Editors

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