Wednesday 26 June 2019

Ireland's most stylish women

Emma Watson may be Glamour's best-dressed, but these ladies top the Irish style stakes without a film-star budget, writes Maggie Armstrong

Ireland's most stylish women: Faye Dinsmore, Angela Scanlon, Celestine Cooney and Maria Fusco
Ireland's most stylish women: Faye Dinsmore, Angela Scanlon, Celestine Cooney and Maria Fusco
Anouska Proetta Brandon

Pity poor Cheryl Cole. She has pouted, preened and sobbed her way to the top of the fashion charts, only to be pushed off her perch this week by Harry Potter's gal pal.

Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger, cast her magic spell on Glamour magazine's list of best-dressed women and scooped the top spot from Cole, who was last year's winner.

The 21-year-old actress has some serious fashionista credentials, of course, including a contract with Chanel, which probably makes it a little easier to figure out what to wear in the morning.

It's one thing being lauded for your style when you're young, beautiful, and mega-wealthy, and designers are lining up to lend you some fabulous threads. But it's not quite so easy if you flaunt your wears behind the scenes.

Irish model Faye Dinsmore created Ireland's Most Influential in Fashion Awards to recognise Irish designers, photographers, stylists, models, fashionistas, editors and bloggers. We asked her and her panel of judges, which included Vogue photographer Tony McGee and Anthony Gordon from Premier Model Management, to select five Irish women who may not have a film-star budget but still top the style stakes.

Tony McGee, who photographed Kate Moss in her waifish early teens, chose Joanne Black, because: "It's not about what she's wearing, or being noticed, it's about her personality. Style is sharing."

"Fresh, cool and creative" are decisive qualities in buttonholing style, says Anthony Gordon from Premier, who chose Celestine Cooney, a "super-talented stylist" who has that "unexplainable sense of cool that makes all her projects the kind that models want to be a part of". Cooney's fashion shoots go to market internationally in bible fashion magazines Vogue, Twin and Dazed and Confused.

Faye's blog has 200,000 followers and they voted to honour stylist Maria Fusco, fashion writer Angela Scanlon and model Anouska Proetta Brandon, a new face with Irish, Spanish and Austrian roots.

Tony McGee reckons that all Irish women have a sparkly eye quality. We just need to really work it. So here are some essential wardrobe tips from Ireland's style queens.

Celestine Cooney

Meath-born stylist and Twin Magazine fashion director,

My mum says I used to change outfits five times a day when I was a kid, so I've always been into clothes even if I wasn't aware of fashion as such.

I was very sure of what I thought looked cool and didn't listen to anyone else.

My most cherished item at the minute is a cream wool Aran jumper, and my grandmother's wedding ring, which I wear on my right hand.

I wear Rick Owens and Simone Rocha, both edgy and inventive designers.

Vintage stores like Harlequin on Castlemarket are great for cashmere cardigans, wool coats, old lace blouses, silk camisoles.

Lanvin do really beautiful big bold pieces of jewellery -- earrings and neckpieces that are affordable and can bump any old dress into the new season.

I'm usually quite tomboyish but I've started mixing florals with leather and they are everywhere at the minute. Punk influences, lace in all shapes, forms and colours, pink, and androgynous dressing are coming in. I think this is the summer of the tough tomboy girl.

Maria Fusco

Irish-Italian stylist and retail consultant,

Style is about us wearing our gorgeous clothes and not vice-versa. Whether we're popping out to the local Spar or attending an event I believe we should always look and feel amazing and groomed. I shop everywhere and anywhere.

Life is too short for basics so I am always on the lookout for that special piece.

I am not a fan of synthetic fabrics -- silk and cashmere feel heavenly on the skin. Fine embroideries, sparkly trinkets and luscious gowns are never scarce in Jenny Vander and Dirty Fabulous.

During the recession we have seen second-hand stores opening all over the country so we have no excuse not to treat ourselves.

My best buy is a cream vintage fur jacket I got in Green with Envy in Rathmines years ago.

My worst is a pair of very expensive silver metallic leather slippers with feathers I purchased in Paris. So Hollywood, but alas, flat heels!

Anouska Proetta Brandon

'Most Influential Model' public award, fashion blogger at

Fashion is so broad it can mean many things for different people, but for me it's about creativity.

In the morning, I usually change at least once before I'm happy with what I am wearing. I feel 10 times better when I have my eyebrows filled in, so my eyebrow kit is indispensable!

Blogs I read every day are and, where Stephen Moloney takes wonderful street photos of people around Dublin.

I shop in TK Maxx for bargains and I've recently rediscovered charity shops, like Mrs Quin's in Dun Laoghaire.

I love how there is only one of everything. I found a beautiful black velvet shirt for €2 that is in perfect condition. It's a lot more special than buying high street.

This summer is about shorts and pretty little dresses, colour blocking and bright lipstick!

Joanne Black

Cavan-born Miss Ireland 1995 and stylist,

I won't go anywhere without my Chanel handbag. It's a classic piece that instantly makes a cheap outfit expensive. I love blazers.

I have them in short bolero-style, long and mid-length, in a range of colours so they give a great finish whatever the season. Think spring/summer, think colour.

Try wearing solid or layered blocks and be bold -- everything from searing orange and sexy scarlet to cool cobalt blue and neon mustard.

If you buy on-trend pieces you never get value for money. The sad truth is, 70% of our wardrobe is never worn.

I have a pair of statement heels from Georgina Goodman with the word 'Love' etched into the shoe. They're still sitting pretty in my wardrobe and have never been worn.

Plan your outfit the night before to save time and sort your wardrobe seasonally, so it's easier to grab something.

If you're looking for a quick win, wear a piece you've worn before that you know makes you feel great.

Angela Scanlon

Stylist and leading Dublin fashion blogger at

I dress for mood rather than occasion. I will wear a sequinned top while trekking around the shops or a T-shirt and jeans on a big night out.

I love coats and black boots and feel lost without my jewellery -- gold gypsy rings -- the more the merrier!

Investing in something that you love makes more sense than spending the same on multiple forgettable pieces. I don't get the mentality of shopping in Penney's for the clothes you wear every day and then splashing out on a dress you wear three times.

Joanne Hynes's latest collection is amazing in its overtness. Tim Ryan's pieces are so special and dreamy!

Eilis Boyle makes other-worldly dresses and the cosiest of cashmere.

Emma Manley and Simone Rocha are names to note.

At the moment there's an insatiable appetite for fashion in Ireland. There is so much talent it's just a question of us believing in ourselves.

Irish Independent

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