Friday 19 April 2019

Society: Louise Kennedy parties with Will & Kate, Ireland's style crusaders and Charlie's new role

Kate Middleton and Prince William in India
Kate Middleton and Prince William in India
Louise Kennedy
Louise Kennedy
Stephen Sealey and Shelly Corkery at the official launch of The Restaurant by Johnnie Cooke at Brown Thomas Grafton St, Dublin: Photo: Kieran Harnett
Johnnie Cooke and Debbie Byrne at the official launch of The Restaurant by Johnnie Cooke at Brown Thomas Grafton St, Dublin. Photo: Kieran Harnett.
Actress Charlie Murphy
Lynn Reilly, Chloe Townsend and Kelly Zainneger at Fashion Independents' Day launch
Louise Cooney and Niamh Webb O Rourke at the launch of FIDAY 2016 supported by Virgin Media Ireland at Zozimus Bar, Dublin.
Adele King, aka Twink, at the Travel Department party. Photo: Kevin McFeely.
Nuala Carey at the Travel Department's celebration at Fiorentina. Photo: Kevin McFeely.
Julie-Ann and Bob Haugh celebrate 20 years in business at the Travel Department in Fiorentina, Parliament Street.
Andrew Scott at the IFTAs
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Anyone following the fascinating Instagram account of leading Irish designer, Louise Kennedy, will know that the Thurles lass is currently in India, working on her upcoming AW16 collection.

On Sunday, she was watching the IFTA's proceedings from afar and duly spotted Joan Bergin accept her Costume Design Award for Vikings, wearing Louise's Chloe pearl-encrusted, midnight-blue dress - worn, naturally, with Joan's statement touch... a sassy headpiece.

Last Monday was definitely a well-deserved afternoon off for the Irish designer who was a guest at a garden party held at the British High Commissioner's residence in Delhi.

The visiting royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate attended the party which celebrated the Queen's 90th birthday with William describing her as 'wonderful great-grandmother' for his children and his 'boss'.

Louise (pictured inset) is one of the great fashion ambassadors, appointed by David Cameron along with Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney, as part of the ambitious international marketing campaign to showcase the best that Britain has to offer.

Louise Kennedy

Louise's flagship store in London's Halkin Street is firmly in the heart of embassy belt Belgravia and her designs are a big hit with the international diplomatic set.

The big surprise for her on Monday night however, was to discover a large photograph from her current collection at the residence featuring an embellished jacket hand-beaded by expert staff in India where such work is respected as an art form.

Back at home, Louise's designs are currently flying out the door at Brown Thomas flagship on Grafton Street, where I found myself at two different parties on Tuesday.

We kicked off with the launch of Craft & Design, a special celebration of some of the very best craftspeople in Ireland today.

The five-week showcase on level three in the store is a collaboration with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCoI) and guests in attendance included Laura Magahy of Arran Street East, Joe Queenan from Foxford Woollen Mills and Karen Hennessy, the Chief Executive of DCCoI.

Later that night it changed to a culinary theme with Brown Thomas' Managing Director Stephen Sealey greeting guests at the celebration of Johnnie Cooke's arrival to Brown Thomas.

It was a special dining experience with over 60 guests.

Guests enjoyed a champagne and cocktail reception before a delicious five-course dinner which included Mediterranean sharing platters for starters, pan-fried black stone sea bass followed by sumptuous Tarta de Santiago with Pedro Ziménez sherry and a wonder Bourbon vanilla ice cream for dessert.


Shelbourne workshop is scent from heaven

Bairbre Power

As fragrant events go, this one definitely took the prize. The Shelbourne organised a lovely evening where perfumier Maggie Mangan of Cloon Keen Atelier held a workshop to mark the launch of its Grande Dame perfume and helped us make our own.

The Grand Dame scent marries the view and aroma from the hotel to St Stephen's Green across the way.

I spent years walking along the green, en route to school at Loreto so I was curious indeed about the summer geranium which she used and which is prevalent in St Stephen's Green. Factor in rose petals and saffron in the top notes plus rose absolute and spiced iris in the middle and the end product is divine. This is Cloon Keen's second collaboration with the hotel and a few years ago it created the Antique Library candle.

There were beauty celebrations around town as the RSVP Beauty Awards were announced. The brand M2Beaute won Best Wonder Brush for brows and Monika Krzywania from the beauty brand is hosting afternoon tea at The Pembroke next week. Can't wait.

From Jackie Chan scraps to Brontë

Kirsty Blake Knox

Actress Charlie Murphy

Actress Charlie Murphy is in no danger of being typecast.

Having spent weeks tussling with martial arts king Jackie Chan on the set of feature flick The Foreigner, the Wexford native is now taking on the lead role in a new BBC movie all about the Bronte sisters.

Charlie (pictured) will play Anne Brontë in To Walk Invisible which will air this Christmas.

"I am up north for the next couple of weeks," Charlie said. "Back in the corsets." The movie is being written and directed by Sally Wainwright, the brains behind the Beeb's hit TV series Happy Valley and is tipped to be a hit with viewers and critics alike.

It's certainly a lot different from Murphy's high-kicking role in action-packed thriller The Foreigner.

"Filming a fight scene with Jackie Chan was definitely on my acting bucket list," Charlie said. "I'm pleased I can tick that off."

Shooting the movie wasn't exactly smooth sailing, however. One scene involved a double decker bus getting blown to smithereens on Lambeth Bridge - a stone's throw from London's Houses of Parliament.

Several concerned commuters dialled 999 after seeing clouds of smoke and wheels flying through the sky.

"I did read about that in the papers," she said. "It caused a scene."

Pierce Brosnan and one of our favourite Irish actresses, Orla Brady, will also appear in the film which is due for release later in the year. LA based Orla should be spending more time in Ireland in the coming months. Her rootin-tootin AMC series Into The Badlands will be shot in Ireland this summer.

"We will be here from August," she said at the IFTA after party. "Hopefully I will still be in it!" It was a late night for most of the attendees - not least Amy Huberman who chatted about her role in RTE's new comedy drama Can't Cope, Won't Cope. The six-part series will air this autumn and was written by the supremely talented Stefanie Preissner - whose one-woman show Solpadeine is my Boyfriend was a runaway hit at the Dublin fringe festival.

The drama which tells the story of two twenty-somethings living in Dublin will also star Norma Sheahan - who Huberman previously worked with on The Clinic. "Although we won't have any scenes together," Amy said.

Style crusaders take flight in boutique battle

Kirsty Blake Knox

Armed with selfie sticks, and discussing the most flattering Instagram filters, a group of Ireland's so-called  'style crusaders' made a beeline to Zozimus bar for the launch of Frockadvisors Fashion Independents' Day.

Now in its third year, the stylish day will take place next Thursday celebrating boutiques around the country.

"It's like a big shiny fashion Christmas party," host Brendan Courtney explained.

"A knees up after all the hard graft."

Stylist Lorna Weightman, blogger Holly White, and food obsessed Snapchatter James Kavanagah are some of this year's chic crusaders and will traverse the country visiting stores.

They were joined at the launch by actress Aoibhín Garrihy who is in the middle of rehearsals for The Gate Theatre's touring production of The Importance of Being Ernest. Aoibhín will join director Michael Colgan and head to South Carolina for the Spoleto Festival this summer.

Department's 20 years a-growing

Bairbre Power

It was la dolce vita on Wednesday as we partied at Fiorentina on Parliament Street at the Travel Department celebration of 20 successful years in business.

Founder Bob Haugh regaled us with fun stories of the early days and how the business has grown to become Ireland's leader in fully escorted holidays, operating to over 50 countries worldwide.

He made a point of specially thanking his wife, Julie-Ann, who helped him build the business. I chatted with Sara Zimmerman, MD of the Travel Department who is just back from Cuba and Marty Whelan who is travelling to Verona, Florence and Naples this summer with Lyric FM on its annual Travel Department opera holiday broadcasts. He was in flying form but left soon after dinner as he had a 4.30am wake up call for his morning show.

I chatted with Nuala Carey and also with Twink who told me how she hears Marty first thing in the morning after working through the night baking and making cakes. "When I hear Marty, I know its time to stop working and go to bed," she laughed.

Sitting opposite Bob, we discussed Oslo, not the city, but his latest business venture. It's a swish spa and beauty salon on Mespil Street and he co-founded it with Clive Kilmurray. Additional investors include Amy Huberman and rugby international, Rob Kearney.

Andrew's 'slow roast Hamlet' already in oven

Kirsty Blake Knox

Andrew Scott at the IFTAs

Andrew Scott is following in the footsteps of his Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch, and will play the Danish prince Hamlet in London's West End.

Proof, as if we needed it, that wherever Sherlock goes, Moriarty is close behind.

The tragedy will hit the boards of the Almedia Theatre in 2017 but Scott has already started preparation.

"It's a sort of slow roast Hamlet," he said.

But before he starts lamenting Yorick's death in earnest, he'll star in David Hare's Denial alongside Rachel Weisz.

"So there's lots going on," he said. Scott (above) was back in Dublin this week for Poetry Ireland's show Rising to the Reconciliation at the Abbey Theatre.

Directed by Rough Magic's Lynne Parker, the show was filled with music, readings of Eavan Boland, Seamus Heaney, and Michael Longley's work.

"Coming home to do something like this is special," Scott said. Michael D Higgins, John Hume and Mary Robinson all attended.

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