Style Voices

Friday 17 January 2020

Ciara O'Connor: 'You ungrateful boomers can't imagine what we owe Vogue'

Vogue Williams is on holiday with husband Spencer Matthews in St Barth's. Picture: Instagram
Vogue Williams is on holiday with husband Spencer Matthews in St Barth's. Picture: Instagram
Vogue Williams with her baby son Theodore and husband Spencer Matthews in St Barth's over Christmas. Picture: Instagram
Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner. Picture: Getty

Ciara O'Connor

As the most ungrateful generation ever recorded, millennials know a thing or two about gratitude - the greatest self-improvement trend since juicing.

We know that it's important to know how #blessed we are and to be #thankful at all times - but especially as we leave behind one year and enter the next. It's tempting to think that 2019, with its black face, bullying and bad weather, was a write-off - but if you scratch the surface, there was much to be grateful for.

Double weddings

I am, of course, talking about one couple having two weddings, not two couples having a joint wedding. 2019 was the year of celebrities getting married twice - and I couldn't get enough.

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It feels like a karmic gift for all the secret celebrity weddings: at this point, after eight painful years, I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I may never see a photo of Blake Lively's wedding dress - but when one door closes another one opens and I would never trade the privilege of being intimately familiar with both of Vogue Williams's dresses.

Vogue and Spencer, in all aspects of their mad lives, represent the farthest reaches of what is possible for millennial couples, if money and vague embarrassment was no object. The ideal scenario for millennials is to have the 'proper' wedding with the RSVP cards and centrepieces and your granny and a stylish but classic princessy dress, as well as a second celebration with chill vibes, more friends and novelty sunglasses/celebrants. I call this manner of occasion, 'The Jumpsuit Wedding', after the garment that the cool bridechillas like Vogue wear for it.

Game of Thrones's Sophie Turner's 2019 jumpsuit wedding was in Las Vegas, and the work of but a week's planning. Sophie, Joe Jonas, and a seemingly random collection of celebrity pals headed to the Little White Chapel for the most aggressively relaxed wedding Hollywood has ever seen. For a little while, they couldn't even admit that Diplo live-streaming the whole thing without their knowledge possibly crossed the line. It's not very Jumpsuit Wedding to call your guests out on uncool behaviour.

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner. Picture: Getty

Supermodel Karlie Kloss, who married Josh Kushner in an 80-person New York ceremony in 2018, also had a jumpsuit wedding this year - but with cowboy hats and cheesecloth instead of jumpsuits. Poor Karlie and Josh are under more pressure than most celebrity couples to prove how chill they are - Josh is brother to Jared, son-in-law and advisor to Donald Trump, a decidedly unchill association. But nothing that can't be solved by the perfect wedding. Again.

The rise of Una Healy

Every morning, when I confront my vision board and set my intentions for the day, I take a minute to appreciate that I breathe the same air as Una Healy.

Yes 2019 gave us Una 2.0, first with blonde hair and leather jackets and enormous LA hunks, and then with a new album and a consistent refusal to be baited by her ex-husband's relentless s**t-talk.

Ben Foden categorically cannot keep his mouth shut, and he took every opportunity he could this year to remind everyone that it takes two to tango and his cheating wasn't the only reason for the divorce. Una just became consistently more luminous. Every time Ben Foden opens his mouth, I am grateful for the reminder of the resilience and grace of women.

Irish reality TV stars

There's no doubt about it: 2019 was the year that The Token Paddy became The Central Paddy, The Essential Paddy, The Beloved Paddy.

Between Maura and Greg cleaning up Love Island, Paddy Smyth winning The Circle, Vogue Williams winning the UK and Andrew Maxwell being the crucial exception that proves the rule in I'm a Celebrity, 2019's light entertainment has been held on the broad shoulders of a few Irish men and women.

The takeover of Love Island has been swifter than we imagined; no sooner did Maura bring England to its knees, then Greg strolled in before the final and won, then Laura Whitmore was installed as presenter, knowing that only an Irish woman could heal the public outcry at Flack's troubles.

Next ITV will be tying the show in a ribbon and giving it to RTE.

Love Island needs us.

Maura, the walking embodiment of 'OMG It's so weird you know I thought you were a total bitch when I first met you!', has the UK wrapped around her little finger. Both Greg and Maura didn't play Love Island by the rules - Maura was too much Love Island, at times too slutty and brutal for the sluttiest and most brutal show on television, and Greg was not Love Island enough, refusing to divulge his 'type' and audaciously saying he was on the show "for the craic, like". He got away without any grand gestures or overblown sentiment, because he pulled chairs out for Amber and pretended not to know how to open Prosecco. He thought, and thinks, he's a bit too grand for Love Island.

I am grateful for Irish reality TV stars. I am grateful for horrified Yewande, sitting in a fleece at the Love Island villa and being macked on by an oily Scot. I am grateful for Greg, cheerfully refusing to call love-rival Michael by his name and aggressively nicknaming him 'Mike'. I am grateful for Maura asking Tommy, 'Don't you think [Curtis] would look so much better with my legs wrapped around his head?' and I am grateful for Maura taking other people's breakfast pastries so they wouldn't be wasted.

I am grateful for Andrew Maxwell's capacity to feel things deeply, and I am even grateful for his little budgie-smugglers which taught me to always find the silver lining (cameras spent less time pervily ogling boobs).

I am grateful for everything Vogue Williams has ever said or done.


Netflix has been good to us. It's given us an acceptable vocabulary to say: 'Would you like to come to my house and have sex? I won't be buying you dinner.'

It's given us woke prison lesbians and Tan France and back seasons of Drag Race and vegan documentaries and Adam Driver singing. It gave Friends to a new generation.

We don't know what Netflix will be next year, with the sun going down on the golden age of streaming as the decade ends, but it's all change. Thanks, Netflix. I'm even ready to forgive you for 13 Reasons Why.

Sunday Independent

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