Saturday 20 January 2018

Gently does it for Claire in Miss Universe coup

Barry Egan

Barry Egan

I'M with Coco Chanel on this. Gentleness doesn't get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs. Or unless you happen to be Claire O'Connor.

Because the young Irish designer manages to be both gentle and get work done so well that it is rapidly earning her international acclaim.

First the Canadian edition of Elle magazine eulogised her and now Latin America acknowledges her creativity and talent in a way so casually complimentary that it is astonishing.

The current Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete wears one of Claire's gorgeous gowns in an editorial for Mexico's biggest-selling fashion magazine, Fernanda.

How she got her creation onto the back of Miss Universe for this hugely high-profile fashion spread is typical of the serendipity that characterises Claire's life.

It was April in New York, where she had been commissioned by the hip Hayes Brothers to work on a left-field fashion film called Metamorphosis (the fashion world is nothing if not Kafkaesque, is it not?) when she bumped into a photographer who was familiar with her work -- actually he thought it was great.

"He recommended my designs to the Miss Universe stylist and I ended up on the fashion shoot," she told me. "I was simply thrilled to have been considered. Then when I saw the sea of clothes that arrived on set and the company I was keeping I could not believe it -- literally the top names in the world. To see my dress being used was thrilling enough, but to see it then published is fantastic."

If I faint with all this literally breathtaking good news for young Claire, someone please bring me around with my favourite smelling salts -- a whiff or two of Chanel No 5.

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