'When she saw the hairband, she started crying' - how this Irish designer brought Lady Gaga to tears
As one of Ireland's most prominent designers, Joanne Hynes is no stranger to critical acclaim and celebrity endorsements.
After launching her debut collection for Dunnes Stores last year, Hynes, from Tuam, Co Galway, has reached a "whole new customer", one that now includes superstar singer Lady Gaga. The six-time Grammy winner is famous for her, let's call it eclectic, personal style and is no stranger to championing Irish designers (she famously wore a piece by Sorcha O'Raghallaigh, then a recent graduate from the Limerick School of Art & Desisn in 2011, and earlier this year, she wore trousers by Colin Horgan). But few can say that their pieces brought her to tears - or that Lady Gaga wears Dunnes.
Gaga shared three images of her wearing the Jewelled Crystal Headband to her 26 million Instagram followers last week and unlike some celebrities who have a quid pro quo arrangement with designers keen to get their name out there or waiting for the highest bidder, the process was an organic one, all thanks to Laura Whitmore.
"The story behind it is so moving," Joanne tells Independent.ie Style, adding it has a "magical aura".
"I didn’t know that she had an album called Joanne, but when she saw the headband, she started crying because of her Aunt Joanne, who she dedicated her album to. She was filming in London and Laura Whitmore, who is a friend of mine, was interviewing her and she said, 'I really want to give her something from you, I know she’ll love it'.
"Lady Gaga doesn’t accept anything from people. We know her stylists. This came from a genuine angle. It was more that she really loved it and what it meant."
Hynes has been unsurprisingly inundated by Little Monsters since, each keen to get the item, which retails for €110 and sold out online.
"When I turned my phone that morning, I could see the power that she has. I think she got 2.5 million likes on that picture and we had every single Lady Gaga fan contacting us, looking for images, asking can we see and buy the headband. She has a lot of really strong followers," she adds.
"There’s been a lot of people looking for it, especially in the States. It’s made of leather and to see it up close…it’s lined in velvet, it has an embossed label, there's a lot of craftsmanship, quite heavy and it's great for a bad hair day. It’s very forgiving if you haven't washed your hair fo days!
"It can be made on an order basis. We have a few of them in store, but we wouldn't have lots and lots of them. That’s the nature of them, they're very exclusive. But they can be made to order and I’ve been doing hairbands for a long time now, I always do a different take on them, it's part of my brand DNA."
Hynes, a mother-of-four, is enjoying a particularly fruitful October - we're speaking over the phone on Friday, just hours after the second drop of her Autumn/Winter '17 collection landed in Dunnes and she has already has a few sell-out items, in particular a Lurex striped dress for €150 which received the Amy Huberman seal of approval hours earlier.
"The dress sold out in half an hour. It’s part two of the Autumn/Winter '17 collection and it went on sale at 9:30 this morning and we didn't do a launch or any press, we didn't have any big hullabaloo. We had a nice launch online and we emailed the people on our database on my site where people can send their details and that’s how it was promoted," she explains.
But this sell-out likely isn't due to the 'Amy effect', but some excellent timing.
"To be honest, with that dress we've had people e-mailing and calling since they first saw it. We first showed it in London underneath a puffa jacket with printed metals and people have been e-mailing and looking for it since. People are so savvy, see something and think I want that!
"I’m sure Amy absolutely helped in that situation, but people have been asking about it for some time. Amy was one of those people who got in there very early. Of course, it’s very her – she’s so gorgeous and you can imagine her wearing it."
Dunnes' prosperous relationship with Irish designers is ever-growing and there's no end in sight for their successful collaboration.
"It's really great, I work very hard on it, it’s the Joanne Hynes DNA, I’m very careful that I’m doing everything that reflects me. It’s a wonderful place to be in for me; it’s just great. What’s lovely about it is that people can now buy Joanne Hynes…I’m more accessible now and people can actually buy into the brand. It’s a very muscular range with a lot of variety in it," Joanne said.
And while her range might only be available at select stores, she's launching a two week pop-up at the Dunnes Store in Galway's Eyre Square from November 4th to 20th and on launch day, customers will be in with the chance of winning the 'Lady Gaga headband'.