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'It's only now, in retrospect, that I think I had this amazing life' - legendary Irish designer Peter O'Brien

After leaving his Dublin Christian Brothers school early, Peter O'Brien carved out a glittering career in the couture houses of Paris. But the boy from Finglas never set out to find fame and fortune in the world of high fashion, he tells Bairbre Power

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Peter O’Brien for Weekend magazine. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Peter O’Brien for Weekend magazine. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Peter O'Brien illustrations of the costumes he has designed for The Gate Theatre's version of 'The Great Gatsby' in June 2017

Peter O'Brien illustrations of the costumes he has designed for The Gate Theatre's version of 'The Great Gatsby' in June 2017

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Peter O’Brien for Weekend magazine. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Drawing ladies in ball-gowns on his books at O'Connell's, one of Dublin's tough Christian Brothers schools, was a risky hobby for Finglas lad Peter O'Brien.

But the designer escaped unscathed and, after leaving school early, went on to achieve the stuff of any fledging designer's dreams.

When he left school following his Inter Cert exams, O'Brien took up a job as a window dresser at Best menswear, which he followed with a spell at Arnotts. Then, at 19, he moved to London and worked for Marshall & Snelgrove - now Debenhams - before securing a place at the renowned Saint Martins School of Art. Upon completing a degree in fashion design, the young O'Brien headed off to New York to study at the Parsons School of Design.