Friday, October 28, 2005

Rock + Roll

Elaine Byrne & Andrew Rudd enjoy the Philip Stein Teslar launch party at Aniké in Brown Thomas.

Time is precious

The finely turned out doorman greeted me with a smile as I arrived at Brown Thomas for the launch of the Philip Stein Teslar timepiece at the Aniké counter. Found on the wrists of Oprah Winfrey, P.Diddy, Jack Nicholas and Jessica Alba (Madonna even has two baby-sized versions for little Lourdes and Rocco), the Philip Stein Teslar watch combines the utmost in luxury with cutting-edge technology.

Bryan Reeves, of Philip Stein Teslar, and TV presenter Kathryn Thomas officially launched the new collection in Ireland. Kathryn has just returned from her fifteenth trip abroad as presenter of travel series No Frontiers. She knows the importance of time.

Termed by wearers as the "feel good" watch, Teslar technology has cjanged the way people think about watches; it's not just about the way they look, but the way they make you feel. Teslar chips inside every watchare specially designed to help strengthen the body's own natural electromagnetic energy field. They do this by creating a unique signal associated with the earth's natural frequency and brain signals when in a calm, meditative or relaxed state. Strengthening the body's energy field may help the body resist the negative effects of daily stresses such as poor sleep habits, hectic work environments, jet-lag and constant exposure to electronic pollution. Get me one, quick!

Aniké owner Fumi Giwa Byrne was late to her own party - hey a girl has to look her best, and she did. I'm delighted to see her friendly face back in prime position on the BT floor. After a transition period of being located downstairs, the Aniké counter now has suitable neighbours like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hermes.

Joining Fumi for tasty Kinnie cocktails and decadently delicious Lindt chocolates were producer Karl Broderick and TV3s Debbie O'Donnell, Gina Kelly and Joanne Leahy. Count Ziggy Kaminsky was there with Dr. Robin O'Reilly, Andrew Rudd, Caroline Desmond and Jim Hatton of Revive, who is off to Nerja on holiday next week.

Nearby, revellers were still enjoying the hospitality in the Round Room at the Mansion House, where Fire Restaurant were launching details of their banqueting services. Hugely popular operatic boy band G4 performed to a delighted crowd.

The Anike party posse were easy to spot with their distinctive orange goodie bags and many of them ended up in Cocoon for Chilli Funk. At Gail Kaneswaren's excellent night I spotted Eoin Higgins and Paul Trainer of The Dubliner, Sinead Ryan and Joanne Byrne of Presence, Trevor Musgrave (in a brand new Porsche 911), Anna Lavery of UIP, Gavin Lambe - Murphy, Malachy Geelan and publisher PJ Gibbons.

Question of the night: I hear rumours that a certain PR girl, after a recent launch, got 'Round' to Lillies and 'lip synced' with a member of the band that performed. I wonder if he found her 'G' spot?!

A stitch in time

TV presenter Kathryn Thomas wears a range of Philip Stein Teslar watches, now available from Aniké in Brown Thomas.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Driven to Drink

Wednesday is undoubtedly the busiest night on the Dublin social scene and I've been saying for ages now that PRs and party planners should set-up a central diary in order avoid clashing events. Too many parties spoil the socialite.

Last night there were no less than 4 parties taking place around the capital and not wishing to dilute my enjoyment of the evening I attended 2 of them. Gone are the days when I would flit from pillar to post - now good champagne and a quality goodie bag do it for me.

I was picked up in town by a chauffeur driven limo and whisked out to Monkstown for the 1st birthday celebrations of enowine, where the champers was, indeed, very good. Owners James and Yvonne Connolly were toasting the success of their revolutionary wine shop and officially opening the latest addition, the new tasting room. Comedian Pat Shortt, who is nominated for the TV Personality of the Year Award, was on hand to officiate. TV3s Lorraine Keane and author Marisa Mackle were also in attendance and looked amazing, as always.

Pat Shortt is not the only Irish comedian to have taken a liking to enowine; larger than life funnyman Karl Spain, took his first date to enowine, when filming the RTE programme ‘Karl Spain wants a Woman’. In fact, it was in enowine, that Karl met the woman whom he chose at the end of the series, following many dates with many women!

Launched last year, enowine is not just a shop; it’s a brand new concept in wine buying - the first of its kind in Ireland. The store is dotted with special state-of-the-art wine dispensers so that customers can taste before they buy. And instead of the usual offering of two or three bottles on a Saturday afternoon, enowine offer 104 different wines open for tasting at all times, every day of the week.

It works as follows: The enomatic tasting stations will allow you to buy a wine card on your way into the shop for €10 or €20 or whatever other amount you like. When you find a wine you want to try, you simply insert the card into a slot and it dispenses a tasting measure. For a cheaper wine you will be charged from 20c and for an expensive bottle, like a good Claret, from 2 euro. If you're accustomed to buying your wines by the case it's a service that could save an awful lot of tears.

After the party I got to do something I've always wanted to do. I jumped into the limo and instructed the driver to take me to Brown Thomas.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Full attention

TV presenter Ryan Tubridy and actor David Kelly pictured at the launch of Serious Fun, a new book in aid of Barretstown.

Serious Fun

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting David Kelly, probably Ireland's greatest actor, at a reception yesterday. We were gathered in The Ark, Temple Bar, to celebrate the launch of Serious Fun, a newly published book in aid of the Barretstown, the charity which offers a fun programme of challenging activities designed to help children deal with the emotional trauma of serious illness.

David, looking dapper as always, was guest of honour at the pizza party and read excerpts from Serious Fun, which is full of stories and poems written by the children of Barretstown. He was joined on the day by RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy, who kept the children entertained - his humour crosses the generation divide!
Over delicious Domino's pizzas, there was a great buzz about the new publication from Gill & Macmillan, which is hoped to raise over 10,000. A hilarious mix of childhood humour, the reader really gets a feel of what it is like to enjoy Barretstown.

" In Barretstown it's fun to play, so many activities every day. Everybody comes from different places, and they all have a smile on their face. They all agree it's a fun place to stay. It's always been sunny and everything's funny - it's all dancey and everything's fancy and you don't need any money".

I congratulated David on his recent success as Grandpa Joe in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and also good news that he is to be honoured with a life time achievement award at the forthcoming Irish Film & Television Awards. I really got the impression that he was genuinely grateful for everything he has. But hey, he deserves it.

Serious Fun is available from leading book stores.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ocean View

At the launch of Ocean View at Sapphire Cove, in the beautiful new Printworks room at the Morrison Hotel last week, guests drank the finest French Champagne selected by enowine in Monkstown and enjoyed food with a Caribbean theme.

The stunning Caribbean island of St. Lucia is the sight of these luxurious condos, being developed by a team of world class talent, many of whom spoke about their involvement with the project during the course of the evening.

Christy O’Connor Junior, fresh from his daughter’s fabulous wedding in the K Club during the weekend, told assembled guests how he fell in love with St. Lucia the first time he played golf there and was thrilled to be designing his own links course there – The Links at Ocean View. He advised people to come along to the sales launch in the Radisson Stillorgan over the weekend to get in quick, as these fantastic homes would be snapped up.

Harrison Minchew, of Arnold Palmer Golf Design in the U.S. also spoke in glowing terms about the island, and Arnold Palmer’s enthusiasm for his first Caribbean course, the Arnold Palmer Course at Sapphire Cove. The well known Florida based architects of the scheme, Craig Livingstone, was pleased with the initial response to the development, and delighted with the excitement generated by the 5 star exteriors and landscaping.

Triona McCarthy was there looking radiant and fresh from Dublin Fashion Week along with Tamara Gervasoni and Norman Pratt. Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey TD, the GAA’s Ger Loughnane, Sean Boylan, Christy Heffernan and commentator Michael Lyster and many serious investors talking quietly amongst themselves were also in attendance.

The young secretary of the RHA and well known portrait painter James Hanley, currently working on the inauguration painting of President Mary McAleese, Senator Eddie Bohan and many others also enjoyed the cool jazz that went on late into the evening.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Al fresco

The impressive dining area on the terrace of the newly revamped Morgan Hotel.

The Morgan

The Morgan Hotel in Temple Bar continues to go from strength tp strength. The trendy hotel has recently been given a complete facelift, with a large extension and the addition of a much welcome smoking area (with beds!) for the bar.

Glass, limestone, dark woods and leather and suede are elements that make up the sleek environment of the plush bar. Grand chandeliers and oversize gilt mirrors off-set the modern look beautifully. It's like something out of Wallpaper* magazine.

Last night The Morgan was full of beautiful people, all there to celebrate it's re-launch. Quaffing Laurent Perrier Champagne and enjoying the delicious canapés from the hotel's kitchen, guests were also offered a tour of the place, culminating in a visit to the impressive penthouse suite. With it's minimalist interior, baby grand piano and breathtaking roof terrace, the penthouse attracted much attention and was the talk of the party. As was the room with the red bathtub as it's centre piece.

Model Gail Kaneswaren, Maria Fusco, Trevor Musgrave, Virginia Macari, Gavin Lambe - Murphy, Hilary Cahill and designer Nicky Wallace were all in attendance. TV presenter Alan Hughes, who is off to L.A. and Palm Springs next week, was there with Karl Broderick and model Astrid Brennan.

As well as the boutique style hotel, The Morgan as boasts a number of apartments which can be rented for longer term stays. With Phillipe Stark inspired room interiors this is one cool place to stay.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mind communication

Author Bret Easton Ellis and Fergal Breen pictured last night at Trinity College.

Bret Easton Ellis

Iconic writer Bret Easton Ellis was in Dublin last night as part of his publicity tour for his latest book, Lunar Park. He was guest of honour for the College Historical Society and the Department of English at a lecture in American Psycho, probably his most famous works, was the target of protests by the National Organisation of Women, who considered the novel a work of misogyny. However, it was usually the same groups who complained that didn't 'get' the wry sarcasm he so well uses.

To an almost packed theatre, Easton Ellis read from Lunar Park and also answered many questions from the audience with ascerbic wit and learned intelligence. He revealed that he was a huge fan of Robbie Williams and was currently reading his autobiography. Or maybe that was just his trademark sarcasm again.

After meeting the legendary Bret Easton Ellis, my good friend Fergal Breen and I retired to The Trocadero restaurant, a veritable institution. Also there were Louis Walsh with Kian Egan, Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne and Mark Feehily (aka Westlife), John Farrington and Victoria Bailey.

Question of the week: Which UK TV star took full advantage of a kind offer after a publicity visit to Dublin? When her sponsors couldn't keep up with her diva demands they offered to buy her a couple of pairs of shoes. She bought a pair of Gucci boots and a pair of Dior heels - at a cost of nearly €4,000!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

17 - 21 October 2005 @ The Morrison Hotel

Dublin Fashion Week

After many years of planning the much-anticipated Dublin Fashion Week has made it's debut. The brainchild of Sonia Reynolds, a former top model turned event planner, DFW plans to bring together some of Ireland's top fashion talent and showcase them to the press, buyers and customers.

Unfortunately, most Irish fashion designers have a profile in Ireland that is disproportionate to their commercial feasibility. They face difficulties in getting buyers based around the country to see their collections, and in many cases have to book expensive stands at foreign fashion weeks in order to get the opportunity to sell to these buyers. It's a tough business to be in.

Their support from indigenous buyers will be enhanced by an organised environment, in which their collections can be seen, considered and bought. The designers participating in the inaugural event are those that have shown an ability to meet commercial and manufacturing deadlines over the past number of years.

Designers participating to date include; Mariad Whisker, Joanne Hynes, Lainey Keogh, Lucy Downes, NC Kilkenny, Elva Robbins, Deborah Veale, Antonia Campbell Hughes, Helen James, Leigh Tucker, Rachel Mackay, Margaret O’Rourke (Mo Muse), Claire Ann Lawler, Vivien Walsh and Lou Lou Belle, Eilis Boyle, JH Collection, Aideen Bodkin, Caoimhe O’Dwyer, Jennifer Kinnear, Armadilo Designs and Sian Jacobs.

In the Odessa Club on Monday evening, Sonia Reynolds hosted a cocktail reception to celebrate the launch of DFW. In association with ABSOLUT, the party was well attended by people from the Dublin style stratosphere. Among them were writer and broadcaster Triona McCarthy, solicitor Barry Lyons, fashion editor Bairbre Power, writer Quentin Fottrell, designers Mairead Whisker, Rachel Mackay, Paula Marron and Ciara Silk (who, ironically, specialises in fabric printing!).

Dublin Fashion Week runs from the 17th - 21st October in The Morrison Hotel.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Ali and Robin Campbell of UB40 with Niamh Elliott, pictured in the green room after the Tubridy Tonight Show on Saturday night.

Le Weekend

I had a busy social weekend, which kicked off with celebratory drinks on Friday evening in the penthouse Sky Bar of The Clarendon, hosted by Amy Buckeridge and Darren Thompson who announced their engagement.

The happy couple recently returned from Paris, with Amy wearing an impressive rock. Among the well-wishers were Sean Montague and Brendan Scully, Greg Canty, Deirdre Waldron and Trish Fallon of the1st Option Agency, who will be busy with the upcoming Irish heats of the Ford Supermodel contest. She was quick to point out that the age limit is 24 (dashing my hopes of landing a $500,000 modelling contract in New York).

I had lunch in the Relax Café at the new Habitat store on Saturday afternoon. It was recently reviewed by Ross Golden - Bannon in the Sunday Business Post, and I concur with his findings. Well worth a visit.

Later in the evening I was at RTE for Tubridy Tonight, the chat show hosted by Ryan Tubridy. My good friends Caroline Morahan and Pamela Flood (presenters of Off the Rails) were guests, so I was there to whoop and cheer them on. Afterwards I met Ali and Robin Campbell of UB40 in the green room (which, incidentally, isn't green), who fascinated my friend Niamh Elliott and I with tales of yore, as featured in their new autobiographical book, Blood and Fire. I would love to read the unedited version of that book.

Caroline and I then continued our night at Renards with the inimitable Quentin Fottrell and his good pal Sarah Binchy. There, I spotted former Miss World Rosanna Davison with her boyfriend James Montgomery, singer Paddy Casey and model Julian Pearson.

After just 4 hours of sleep (pity me!) I was at Phoenix Park to participate in the Irish leg of the Avon Round the World Walk for Breast Cancer. I joined special guest Orla O'Shea (last year's Rose of Tralee) and Suzanne Walsh (of Channel 4's The Salon fame) and over 1,000 others in the 5km walk which raised considerable funds for breast cancer awarness charities, which Avon generously support.

The next part of the walk starts in New York this week. Ah, New York, you know I could have landed a modelling contract there if only......

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Oasis ROCKS!

The new Printworks @ The Morrison Hotel was a mecca for the party core on Thursday night as Oasis celebrated their 10th year in Ireland with a big bash, suitably called Oasis Rocks! The trendy venue had been decked out in a boudoir style, with small seating areas - perfect for cliques to catch up on gossip.

Earlier in the day Roberta Howett (ex X-Factor finalist) had attended a photocall at the newly revamped Oasis flagship store on St. Stephen's Green. Since making the X-Factor final this time last year, Roberta has moved to London to pursue a career in music.

After a fashion extravaganza, which showcased the latest Oasis collection, guests made a considerable dent in the champagne on offer. Sister act Cecelia Ahern and Georgina, Andrew Rudd, TV presenter Brendan Courtney, the gorgeous Roisin Ní Mhordha and Julian Benson were all there.

Lisa Stansfield and Gavin Friday represented the rock fraternity and Gavin Lambe - Murphy had a TV crew in tow, filming for his latest reality TV show. He will celebrate his 30th birthday soon with a huge party in trendy bar Cocoon. UIP publicist Anna Lavery was unwinding before the next day, when she was to accompany actress Emma Thompson, who was in town for the premiere of her latest movie.

All left with a generous goody bag, with girls delighted to receive their VIP 25% weekend discount card. A welcome oasis for their credit cards among the usual expense of Grafton Steet.

Friday, October 14, 2005

On the catwalk

The John Rocha show at the National Gallery, pictured on Thursday night.

John Rocha

Internationally acclaimed designer John Rocha hosted his Autumn Winter 2005 collection show last week in the beautiful surroundings of the National Gallery.

Pieces were set around a strict palette of ultra black, jet, charcoal and pewter with shots of colour and scatterings of silver sparkle and crystal. As with all John’s womenswear, texture and volume were at the forefront, with handiwork used to beautifully sculpt the figure and create delicate new silhouettes. He also showcased a range of accessories including jewellery and bags (as sported by Odette Rocha, John’s wife, at the recent opening party of Harvey Nics).

Also on show was the new Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), who sponsored the event. Since the PSP launched in September over 20,000 have been sold in Ireland, with an estimated 100,000 expected to sell before Christmas. During the reception, guests were able to view John's Spring Summer collection on PSPs. Boutiques Diffusion, Havana and the Design Centre will showcase the womenswear collection on PSPs over the next few weeks. A beautiful bespoke carry bag, which was created by John Rocha in response to PSP, was also on display.

An impressive piece of kit, the PSP has the capability to play games, music, films, display photos and access the internet. Portability with style, one shouldn’t travel without it.

In addition to his women’s collection, Rocha also showcased, for the first time, a selection from his formal men’s wear collection, Rocha.John Rocha at Debenhams. Designed for formal but contemporary dressing, the menswear collection uses his distinctive palette of black and muted earth tones in peat chocolate, slate and grey, creating a refined yet relaxed style.

Invited guests assembled in the atrium for champagne, served in Rocha’s dramatic new Black Cut crystal glasses from Waterford Crystal. Among them were designer Virginia Macari, who I had appeared with on The Big Bite TV show earlier in the day, Nadine Wai – O’Flynn, Harry Crosbie, Laura Slattery and celebrity fitness guru Pat Henry.

Virginia Cole – McColgan was there with Alan Amsby and couturier Peter O’Brien. Image publisher Kevin Kelly and his glamorous wife Rose had come from the Spanish ambassador’s residence, where H.E. Mr. Jose de Carvajal hosted a reception to celebrate Spanish Day.

After the show some of the fashion crew continued on to Cocoon, where model Gail Kaneswaren was hosting her new club night, Chilli Funk.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Blondes have more fun

Tamara Gervasoni and Norman Pratt pictured at the launch party for Jimmy Choo at Brown Thomas.


Jimmy Choo 4" Kendal evening shoes, pictured at the new Jimmy Choo store in Brown Thomas.

Jimmy Choo is here!

When it comes to shoes the only name on the lips of those girls in the know is Jimmy Choo. The luxury brand has graced the feet of such luminaries as Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Iman, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.

Now the luminaries of Dublin no longer have to flit to London to get their Choos. On Tuesday night Brown Thomas, Ireland's top department store, hosted a lavish launch party to celebrate the opening of their Jimmy Choo footwear department.

The department is luxuriously decorated in the brand's signature lilac colour, with suede lined shelving and deep carpets surrounding a large circular seating area. Perfect for trying on a pair of 4" Moscows. A grand chandelier and dramatic glass columns offset the stylish emporium.

The place was abuzz with excited girls, among them Caroline Morahan, Dr. Robin O'Reilly, stylist Celia Holman - Lee, Cindy Caffola and model Andrea Roche, who told me of her recent humanitarian trip to Calcutta. She will be hosting a charity night in Renards next month to raise funds for GOAL. Former Miss World Rosanna Davison was there too, as was TV3 producer Debbie O'Donnell, who was off to South Africa on a safari trek. No need for a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes there!

I also spotted publicist Joanne Byrne, who looked great in a black and red military style coat. This week she was honoured with an award from the Variety Club. She received a prestigious International Citation for her services toward Variety Club Ireland.

The boys were well represented too, no doubt there to see what all the fuss is about. Social & Personal publisher PJ Gibbons, Eoin Lyons, Richard Kavanagh, Michael O'Doherty and hair stylist Alan Bruton were all in attendance. Guest of honour was Jimmy Choo CEO Tamara Mellon, who was introduced by Brown Thomas head Dalton Phillips. In a short speech she expressed her delight at opening her first Irish concession.

No doubt a path will be worn to this new fashion mecca.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Beyond the Obvious

Jameson, the world's favourite whisky (over 500 million glasses will be enjoyed this year!), last night launched their new TV ad campaign, "Beyond The Obvious", to an audience of discerning drinkers and trend setters, who definitely gave it the thumps up.

It was a wet and wintry evening but inside the new Cristal Club, at George's on Baggot Street, there was a hotbed of activity as invited guests waited to see a preview of the new adverts. Created by the legendary Jonas Ackerland (who has been responsible for music videos of Madonna, The Prodigy, U2 and Robbie Williams among others), the three commercials, entitled Drummer, Harpist and Tap Dancers are now on global release.

Before the viewing I was introduced to Paul Duffy, who, I rightly assumed, was with Irish Distillers, the makers of Jameson. I asked him if he worked on the Jamseon brand and he replied "well, yes, I suppose I do". Turns out he is the company CEO, and a very young looking one at that. Luckily I only have good things to say about Jameson, so another social faux pas was narrowly avoided.

Giving the brand a new twist, the commercials, which were developed by TBWA, are sure to attract people who enjoy a drink with a difference and appeal to those who like a bit of versatility. An elderly man who hobbles on set and then drums like a maniac, a super cool rock star with long dreadlocked hair plays T-Rex's 20th Century Boy on a harp and a two young trendy dancers who tap their way into hipdom. The old adage of "appearances can be deceiving" has never been more fitting.

TV presenters Pamela Flood and Brian Ormond were among those sipping on the delicious Jameson cocktails, as were writer and broadcaster Quentin Fottrell, Catherine O'Grady and Deirdre Farrell of Irish Distillers, Julian Benson and publicist Clodagh FitzGerald, who was celebrating her recent engagement. I also bumped into former model Max Werner, who has recently joined Michael O'Doherty's publishing empire and will be working on his latest magazine, Capital, which launches soon.

Ray Shah told me of his excitement of joining the new cable TV channel City, which made its debut last week. He joins a stable of presenters that includes Orlaith Rafter, Catherine Blake and Laura Wood, who is not to be confused with RTE presenter Laura Woods.

Hopefully I won't miss the Wood(s) for the TV Threes. In the meantime I'll look out for an old guy playing the drums, a rock star playing a harp and two trendy tap dancers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Happy 'Ate' Birthday

No launch party, movie premiere or fashion show is complete without the right caterers. The state of your canapé says a lot about you, and, as we all know, it's what other people are saying about you that matters.

My canapé of choice comes from the boys at Unique Dining, who recently celebrated their 'Ate' Birthday - yes, that's 8 years of top nosh. A flurry of foodie fans attended the party in Eddie Irvine's trendy Cocoon bar last Thursday, where the fare really was delicious. Foccacia of asparagus, parma ham, trompette mushrooms and parmesan shavings anyone?

The hosts with the most, Aidan Chadwick and Stephen O'Donoghue of Unique Dining, worked the room with charming ease. Actually, that’s one thing I love about these guys - you are always guaranteed a friendly and professional service. They know how to work it.

Style gurus Triona McCarthy and Cathy O'Connor were there, unwinding after a busy day of giving out Trinny and Susannah-type advice to those who need it. I also spotted Trish Long of Buena Vista/Disney, Irish Dev's Fergal Breen (who is also now the new Games Guru on FM104), Roisin Tierney - Crowe and menswear designer Nicky Wallace, who is preparing for his forthcoming winter collection show.

I've been around the social scene long enough to have sussed out the best in everything and, in my opinion, caterers don't come better than Unique Dining. Happy Birthday to you!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Lara looks

Designer fashion store Lara, on Dublin's Dame Lane, has long been a favourite haunt of style conscious girls. The trendy boutique has now doubled in size and last week, owner Lara Casey, hosted a party to celebrate the expansion. Traditional top-end labels such as Versace and Gucci have now been joined on the rails by the exclusive Allen B (only sold in Harvey Nics and Harrods in London) and Victoria Beckham's jeans brand, Rock & Republic, among others.

Also new to Lara is the menswear selection, a welcome addition for the man-about-town. Great brands such as Criminal Clothing, Matinique, Mish Mash and David Bitton will do wonders for any boy's wardrobe. Key materials for winter 2005 include mohair, wool, voile and leather. Lara has it all wrapped up.

A gaggle of girls, including Pamela Flood, Kate Conkey and Tamara Gervasoni, eagerly eyed up the latest additions. Of particular interest is the special occasion-wear from labels such as Ottitude, Andy Warhol, Irish designer Dee Collier and Insolente Paris. Ideal for any girl attending next weekend's Wilde October Ball, which takes place in the Berkley Court Hotel on Saturday the 22nd, in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (tickets from 01-6614911 or

Also in attendance on the evening were Shirley Beere, Julian Fallon, Robbie Kane and model Peter Loyd. Lara Casey certainly knows how to stop traffic - as the evening progressed guests spilled out onto Dame Lane and enjoyed the party al fresco.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A nice model

Top model Ciara Bailey at the Jack Daniels birthday bash.

Happy Birthday Mr. Jack!

The month-long celebrations for Jack Daniels birthday came to a climax with a rock ‘n’ roll style birthday party presided over by rock music guru Dave Fanning in The Village. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the draw for a brand new Harley Davidson motor bike, when 50 finalists drew a key to free the bike from its chains! Dan Doyle from Milltown was the lucky winner - or lucky Dan as some of his friends now call him.

Guests at the party were entertained by Silver Addictive, Ireland’s hottest up and coming rock band. Silver Addictive participated in the JD Set a number of years ago and have been going from strength to strength. They performed at the Jack Daniels Midwest Music Summit in Indianapolis this summer and contributed to the recently released Phil Lynnott memorial album with artists such as Mundy, Damien Dempsey, Picturehouse, Blink and Saucy Monkey.

Also playing were bands from the JD Set, Corona and Idle Hands. Both bands were awarded with a limited edition Jack Daniels Fender Guitar for their achievement of Hardest Working Bands of JD Set. This year the JD Set went nationwide and we had 50 Irish bands participating. Corona were also chosen as the JD Set band to participate in the Hard Working Class Heroes Festival.

"Jack’s birthday is now a permanent fixture on the rock’n’roll calendar. Jack Daniels has a very loyal fan base and with its established music credentials, the Birthday Party invites are like gold dust. The party just gets better and better and no one dares miss out on the fun," Caroline Sleiman of Edward Dillon & Company Ltd told me.

Guests included artist Jim Fitzpatrick, author Marisa Mackle, DJ’s Alison Curtis, Conor G & Steve K, actress Tatianna Ouliankina, Taragh Loughrey - Grant, Dee O’Keeffe from U Magazine, Gerry Molumby of Big Brother Records, stylist Roxanne Parker, Janine Allen of RMG, Sharon McGarry from 20th Century Fox, Niall Turner and Matt Lunson.

Incidently, I don't think anyone actually knows what day Jack's birthday falls on. I guess it's a good excuse to celebrate for the entire month of September.

Question of the week: Which celeb couple had a close escape from a car accident recently?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cosmo girls

Also enjoying the Harvey Nics party were Nicola Connolly and Jeananne O'Brien.

Family affair

Designer John Rocha with his daughter Simone and wife Odette at the Harvey Nichols launch party.


Rebecca Smith and Alison O'Reilly enjoy Grey Goose cocktails at the launch of the new Harvey Nichols store last week.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Behing the velvet rope

Probably Ireland's best-known gossip columnist, Jason O'Callaghan, recently launched his much-awaited book in the new Dandelion Club on St. Stephen's Green. Behind the Velvet Rope: Confessions of a Gossip Columnist is a compendium of various stories and anecdotes as experienced by Jason over the years. It also gives an insight to the man himself, with some personal information that only those close to him would have previously known. He also launched his latest album on the evening, Velvet Swing.

Many years ago, Jason started off as a contributor to the much loved (and indeed loathed) Keane Edge column, then headed by the infamous Terry Keane. I say 'headed', as, in her later years, Terry wrote and contributed to the column less and less. It is thought that the Sunday Independent simply paid for her to be the face of the weekly social gossip page.

I've known Jason for many years, and indeed credit him as one of my early mentors when I first set out on the rocky road of becoming a social journalist. I recall him telling me that his first break was witnessing a storm, where a tree fell and crushed a nearby car. The intrepid Jason quickly purchased a disposable camera and captured the moment. This marked him as one to watch with his then editor within independent New and Media. OK, so he could just as easily have become a photographer (and I'm sure many who he has written about wished he had!), but he has always been hungry for the story and relishes a challenge.

In the book you can read about how Jason broke into Pierce Brosnan's wedding, what it’s like to be ridiculed by Madonna, the truth behind Westlife's name, how it feels to be glassed by a former Miss Ireland and to be chased by Ronan Keating. There are also tales of dancing with Michael Flatley, cinema trips with Colin Farrell, nights on the town with Bruce Willis and Jean Claude Van Damme and some of the lies told by Bryan McFadden!

After a year long hiatus in Cannes, where he was completing his book and recording his album (he also founded The Irish Rat Pack), Jason has returned to Dublin. He has just joined Ireland on Sunday, where he will be co-writing the showbiz column, replacing erstwhile party lover Gavin Lambe - Murphy.

The launch was well attended by many including Universal Music's Dave Pennyfeather, singer Luke Thomas, Alan Amsby and Richard Kavanagh, Emma Kelly and Kirsten Connolly of Elevate PR, solicitor Gerald Kean, photographer Kip Carroll, Sinead Ryan and Malachy Geelan, comedian Alan Shortt, Paul Goldin and model Gail Kaneswaren.

I'm told the party continued on well past its official end, with many of the guests dispatching to celebrity hangout Lillies. Actually that could be the reason that O'Callaghan has remained top of his game - his clean living. You'll not see him downing his 8th glass of champagne at a swanky party or falling down the stairs from Jersey Lil's.

As one well-known publicist once said: "Jason O'Callaghan hears everything and forgets nothing".