Wednesday 18 September 2019

How to make a statement at the Dublin Horse Show, as styled by our fashion editor and best dressed judge

Sophisticated dresses, millinery masterpieces and a keen sense of personal style all contribute to the conversation and magic that make up Ladies' Day. Bairbre Power styled some of her favourite pieces from the first drops of the new AW19 season in advance of next week's Continentally Classic competition

'Star' front percher hat, €65 to hire, Laura Hanlon, 086 344 2731; ‘Stars’ dress, €305, Fee G, for details on stockists, contact 01 460 6035 or see feeg.ie; black sandals, €27, M&S, marksandspencer.ie.
Lilac boater with pink blooms and striped ribbon, €350, Carol Kennelly; pink shimmer linen drop-waist tennis dress, €360, Tina Griffin Designs.
Red swirl hat in window-pane straw, €65 to hire, Laura Hanlon; red devoré dress with V back, €299, Fee G
‘Amime’ veil, €395, Leonora Ferguson; bodycon check dress, €218, Fee G, Arnotts, arnotts.ie.
Feathers and metallic cable-tie hat, €495, Ashleigh Myles, ashleighmylesmillinery.com; jacquard dress, €299, FeeG.
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Bravo to the women of Ireland - they really do wear their heart on their sleeve when it comes to fashion. It's a shared love of dressing up and an opportunity to express a personal sense of style that inspires so many to enter Best Dressed competitions.

They are like a day-long conversation about fashion and hats, and the biggest day of all comes next Thursday (August 8), when hundreds of hopefuls will register to enter the Dundrum Town Centre Ladies' Day at the Stena Line Dublin Horse Show in the RDS.

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The style is always guaranteed to be exciting and elegant, with registration on the band lawn from noon and a total of five prizes for men and women.

On Thursday evening, immediately after the show, the style action will move around the corner to the InterContinental Hotel, which is hosting its third 'Continentally Classic' competition. The evening event - starting from 5.30pm in the Ice Bar with champagne - is another opportunity to throw your hat into the ring, so to speak.

Feathers and metallic cable-tie hat, €495, Ashleigh Myles, ashleighmylesmillinery.com; jacquard dress, €299, FeeG.
Feathers and metallic cable-tie hat, €495, Ashleigh Myles, ashleighmylesmillinery.com; jacquard dress, €299, FeeG.

The prize also attracts a lot of attention as it is so valuable - a seven-night Princess Cruises Mediterranean cruise for two with flights plus a two-night stay at InterContinental Dublin with dinner and pampering spa treatments. There are prizes for runners-up from the MHL-owned Westin Dublin, Glenlo Abbey Hotel and Powerscourt Hotel - and Nicky Logue, general manager, and Ciara Hanley, director of sales and marketing, at the InterContinental Dublin, will join me in judging the winners. So, what advice do I have?

Colour is always your friend at Ladies' Day. This season, the palette has moved on from a sea of cream and ivory outfits which dominated the Ladies' Day circuit last year. I do love cream. So does Kate Middleton, and she wears it so well, but colour is where the action is if you are a serious contender.

I always like to be surprised by how people assemble their outfits and the unusual colours they go for. The striking apple green ostrich feathers and bow chosen by award-winning milliner Carol Kennelly for her wide hat (far left) creates a stylish nostalgia and the synergy with the Tina Griffin blistered dress proves yet again how brilliantly these two Kerry creatives work together and achieve a real point of difference for their clients. They are like a couple who understand each other without speaking - and it is that shared understanding of managing the drama that makes them such a compelling duo on the Irish fashion scene.

Fiona Heaney, the creative director of Fee G, is poised to break hearts with her exciting new AW19 collection, which features a huge number of striking statement dresses - from the silver stars with ladylike velvet belt to a stunning black jacquard with ornate fringing that I saw her wearing when she collected her Image Creative Businesswoman of the Year award. She also has introduced a super-stretch bodycon check dress with asymmetrical wrap neckline that comes in monochrome (left) and also in wine.

Word to the wise: be sure and check out the new Sisters collection from Caroline Kilkenny, which is full of seriously swish dresses including the 'Forest' (far left) with its gorgeous asymmetric hemline and slanting neckline. The good news is that it comes in both black and cream.

Flying the flag for Irish milliners is never hard because they are so utterly talented. For this shoot, I tapped into the genius of Ashleigh Myles, Leonora Ferguson, Michelle Kearns and Laura Hanlon.

Red swirl hat in window-pane straw, €65 to hire, Laura Hanlon; red devoré dress with V back, €299, Fee G
Red swirl hat in window-pane straw, €65 to hire, Laura Hanlon; red devoré dress with V back, €299, Fee G

I'm always a sucker for strong grooming. I dislike false tan but I love a pair of great gloves. Paula Rowan has a comprehensive range of colours, and I even found the perfect pale blue for the new RIXO dress that I teamed with seriously comfy sandals from M&S.

I'm so looking forward to seeing all the fashion next Thursday - be sure to come over and say hello.

IT'S A DATE!

Nicky Logue, general manager, and Ciara Hanley, director of sales and marketing, at the InterContinental Dublin, will join me in judging the Continentally Classic Best Dressed Lady on August 8. The event kicks off at 5.30pm and there are prizes for runners-up from the MHL-owned Westin Dublin, Glenlo Abbey Hotel and Powerscourt Hotel.

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