Wednesday 13 November 2019

The Diary: Kerry putting on the glitz

Teodora Sutra
Teodora Sutra
Marie Chawke and Melanie Morris

Bairbre Power and Kirsty Blake Knox

Poor Don O'Neill - his designer ears must have been burning in Brooklyn as we heaped praise on him in Killarney, where the Ballyheigue man should have been in tux and tails, attending Kerry Fashion Week (KFW) awards.

But the weather gods were against him and snow imprisoned him in NYC, while in Kerry, we kicked up our Jimmy Choos, pulled on the posh gunas and air-kissed with abandon as Ireland's top fashion talents battled it out for highly coveted KFW awards.

Don sent his charming dad, Donal, to fill his shoes at the top table and we enviously ogled Orla Diffily, the founder of KFW, as she swished around in a bold, big-skirted, va va voom gold dress with pockets, sent over by Don for the awards ceremony at the Europe Hotel.

Designer Umit Kutluk looked tres chic in a navy velvet suit and brought along his couture SS15 gowns for the catwalk show.

Designer Helen Cody and her beau, architect Rory Murphy, looked beyond happy as they celebrated her being crowned Irish Fashion Designer of the Year by Melanie Morris, editor-in-chief of Image Publications.

Beautiful and gracious, Teodora Sutra (below), a finalist in the Top Model category, looked stunning in an Umit Kutluk lace dress, accompanied by the handsome Andrew Jones. She was over quickly to offer her congratulations to the category award winner, Li Ann Smal, who attended the awards with her Distincy agent, Anne Morgan.

The pair told me how they spent the afternoon doing the touristy thing, going around Killarney in a horse-drawn carriage.

That's what I love about Li Ann: one minute she hob-nobbing with Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse on the Burberry 'Kerry Centre Collection' campaign in Shanghai, then she's posing with dogs, in the rain, outside Ballynahinch Castle for Mistletoe magazine or enjoying a leisurely clip clop around Killarney.

Milliner Margaret O'Connor brought her mum and two sisters to the awards and the Clare-born, London-based milliner created quite a stir when a model showed off her one-piece hat 'outfit'. It resembles a bee-keeper's hat with an elaborate veil with feather trim, merging with sheer pants and revealing derriere.

Róisín Tierney-Crowe, the communications manager Ireland of L'Oréal Luxe, presented the Business award to Fiona Heaney, who was the best advert for her own label, FeeG, popular with first ladies and communion mums alike. The busy mum-of-three was enjoying a night in Kerry with her husband, Don Gormley.

Earlier, I took a break from judging and took a spin up to Aghadoe Hotel for coffee where, I must confess, I missed the cheery face of the hotel's former GM, Marie Chawke. So I was thrilled to see her arrive at the Europe with Melanie Morris and her husband, Trevor Rigley.

Emily Quinn, winner of the Photographer of the Year award found herself on the other side of the lens, and happily posed for photos with her partner, Neil.

Later, there were loads of trophies photographed with celebratory bubbles.

Ann Marie O'Connor had the lion's share after winning two KFW gongs - the Irish Fashion Stylist of the Year, in association with SKODA Fabia, and the Irish Fashion Ambassador, voted for by the general public.

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