Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bombay Mix

It was the ultimate in contemporary style and sophistication as two iconic brands joined forces to host a stylish night of the design industry’s finest. Crawdaddy was the venue to celebrate the final of the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition in association with Waterford Crystal last night.

Hipsters were out in force to hear the announcement of the Irish winner of this international contest and to support the young Irish designers, whilst sipping the ultimate Bombay Sapphire martinis served to perfection by mixologist Stephen Marchant, who flew in from London especially to prepare the cocktails.

The panel of leading design industry judges deliberated over their final decision to find the ultimate martini glass, a symbol of stylish glamour, elegance and sophistication. John Rocha, Eoin Lyons, Cameron Ross, Barry Sheehan, Brian McGee, Sinead Christian and Nicola Connolly emerged to announce Tara Whelan from NCAD as the competition winner with her elegant martini glass “Ripple”, a popular result which caused more than a stir!

Delicious canapés were served by Cookes Restaurant to compliment the subtle flavour of the Bombay Sapphire botanicals and the music came courtesy of master mixer DJ Mo Kelly.

Other people in attendance included Katie Byrne of Irish Tatler, John Rocha and his team of designers, Isabella Ross of Liberty Films, designers Joanne Buckley and Leone Maon and City Channel’s Shane Tobin.

Tara took home €1,000 and now goes on to represent her country in Milan against 26 other countries at the global final, and is in with a good chance of scooping the $15,000 prize.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Timberland Spring 06

Timberland, the conscientious fashion brand, unveiled their Spring 2006 collection at a lunch in EDEN restaurant on Tuesday afternoon. Building on it’s reputation as the world’s premier brand of authentic and rugged outdoor clothing and footwear, Timberland presented it’s most innovative and versatile collection to date. Inspiration is drawn from two key themes – Earth Keepers and Man of the Sea.

Natural finishes help to create a relaxed, weathered look and the colour palette is inspired by the desert, hence the earth theme. The collection makes use of sand-washed leather and traditional cloths like linen poplin and canvas. Key pieces include the carpenter denim (€130) for unbelievable comfort and mobility and cargo vest (€120) for an authentic desert feel.

The Man of Sea collection uses natural, water friendly materials which are practical yet stylish and uses a colour palette of mists, chutneys, weathered blues and aged yellows. Perfect attire for hanging out on the Timberland One Life yacht.

Stylists Cathy O’Connor and Graham Cruz were impressed with the new collection. Agents Sean Montague and Brendan Scully were there too. They were delighted with the news that one of their young crew has landed the top role in the West End production of Billy Elliott. Dean McCarthy, 14, from Clondalkin scooped the part last week and will appear on tonight’s Late Late Show.

+++ bits + pieces +++

- FMI (that’s Former Miss Ireland, in case you’d forgotten) Natasha Ní Garbhaith is thrilled at having given birth to a new baby boy. She and her partner, PJ McDermott, have been together for 3 years and are currently building a new home together. The new baby is said to look very like dad!

- Speaking of babies, TV presenter Amanda Brunker is due to have her baby any day soon. She is currently gracing the cover of Capital magazine, au natural, alá Demi Moore’s famous Vanity Fair cover. Amanda, who last week appeared on the Late Late show, is blooming and along with her partner Phillip can’t wait for the arrival of the little boy!

- Former Rose of Tralee Tamara Gervasoni has left the country on another humanitarian mission. The Italian-Irish beauty is currently in Ethiopia with aid agency GOAL. She celebrates her birthday tomorrow so … Happy Birthday Tamara!

- Spirit night club hosted a Re-Birth party in the VIP section of the club last night. Manager Micheal Sharpe was on hand to greet guests who included Karla Elliott, Tamso Doyle, Ray Shah, Niall McCrudden, actor George McMahon and his girlfriend Lindsay Cowap (who is off to the U.S. this weekend), Norman Pratt and Roisin Tierney – Crowe, Gareth Gleeson, Romy Carroll (who celebrates her birthday in Cocoon tonight) and Roz and Avila Lipsett.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Johnny Was

The World premier of Johnny Was took place in Cineworld as part of the Jameson Dublin International film Festival on Wednesday night. Starring Vinnie Jones, Eric La Salle, Patrick Bergin, Samantha Mumba, Roger Daltry and Lennox Lewis, it tells the story of a former bad boy who gets caught up in a maelstrom of drugs, violence and murder. Johnny Was is a darkly funny multi-racial thriller in the vein of Sexy Beast and The Long Good Friday. It’s a gangster flick with attitude.

Jones was unable to attend as he was in L.A. shooting another movie but cast and crew were well represented at the screening. I met the director Mark Hammond at the Jameson after party in JM Keatings and he informed me that he has already started shooting his next movie and will be on location in South Africa for the next number of months.

I also bumped into top model Glenda Gilson who will make her acting debut very soon. Glenda will appear in the Vagina Monologues, which will be performed in Spirit from the 6th of March. She is, understandably, a bit nervous but is excited about this new direction.

Publisher Michael O’Doherty, Sonia Harris, actor Liam Cunningham, Antonia Leslie, Sinead Ní Chonaill and Paul Trainer, Jayne Murphy and Laurence Kinlan were also in attendance.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Stately Affair

Here I am pictured at the recent AIB PPAI Awards with Roisin Ni Mhordha and An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern TD.


Jury’s Hotel, Ballsbridge played host to the glamorous AIB Press Photographers Association of Ireland Awards on Friday night last amid a multitude of shining Irish photographic talent, prestigious VIP guests and an abundance of ‘glitterati’.

Managing Director AIB, Donal Forde and his wife Niamh, hosted the event for the fourth year, ensuring it was a scintillating occasion for all. The theme for the night was elegant ‘black and cream’ and photographers from all over Ireland attended the black tie gala banquet, with TV3’s Claire Byrne as the wonderful MC for the evening and An Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern TD as guest of honour. My date for the evening was the beautiful Róisín Ní Mhordha, who, as you can see from the picture, An Taoiseach was pleased to meet!

Among the stylish guests were: Jonathon Benton, Charge d’Affaire at the American Embassy, Brenda Moriarty and Jim Kelly of AIB, Billy Higgins, President of the PPAI and his wife Hilary. The expert judging panel were also in attendance having flown in from the UK for the special occasion – Jonathan Levy and his wife Alice, John and Roslyn Chillingworth along with chairperson Bride Rosney from RTE with Peter McMenamin.

Other guests enjoying the glittering event included Anne O'Shea, Bridget Brody, Anne Maria O’Reilly of AIB, former judges Pat Donlon and Sheamus Smith and this year’s AIB PPAI Press Photographer of the Year, Matt Kavanagh of The Irish Times.

The AIB PPAI Exhibition will open in the Gallery of Photography on Tuesday 21stIreland and overseas to Europe and the US February and will travel throughout during the coming year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fashion designer Paul Costelloe pictured backstage, with models, at his London Fashion Week Autumn 2006 show.

A beautiful Paul Costelloe design, as featured on the runway of his LFW Autumn 2006 show.

Paul Costelloe @ LFW

Ireland’s best known and indeed most successful fashion designer, Paul Costelloe, hosted the first show of London Fashion Week recently in in the exhibition tent in the grounds of London’s Natural History Museum.

This season he brings in the return of the tailored layered look. Influences are in the form of Hitchcock’s Rebecca meets The Secretary, waists are nipped, jackets are cropped and fitted, and the skirts are slim, finishing at mid calf for sleek silhouettes.

This Autumn/Winter 2006 trouser covers a wide spectrum with everything from the skinny cut velvet trousers to the ultra wide leg. Coats are mid calf to floor length and the double-breasted look is particularly stylish.

Key tailoring colours are chocolate, marl grey and black with highlights of ultra violet and chartreuse. The fabric is a mixture of compact tweeds, short taffetas and rich washed silks and there is also a return to tartan and large scale checks.

The show was well attended, with the likes of fashionista Isabella Blow, Michelle Collins, Amanda Holden and Lady Isabella Harvey. The Irish contingent was well represented by TV3’s Laura Birmingham, Louise Byrne and Orla Doyle of Looks One PR and Irish Times fashion editor Deirdre McQuillan. Paul’s wife Ann was also there along with their 6 sons.

The 2006 Autumn/Winter collection from Paul Costelloe epitomises sophisticated glamour from the sultry 1940’s era and showcases his signature expert tailoring.

Hilary Riva and Stuart Rose at the recent Paul Costelloe show during London Fashion Week.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Blog Awards

I am delighted, nay thrilled, to announce that Social Dublin has been short listed for an Irish Blog Award!

I've been included in the Arts & Culture category next to some very tough competition, so I'm honoured to be there.

Thanks to all of you who voted and e-mailed me, I really appreciate your support. Thanks also to Damien Mulley, whose brainchild the whole awards operation is.

The event takes place on March 11th, so keep everything crossed in the meantime.

Pure WipeOut

The atmosphere was electric as the beats per minute pulsed through The Village music venue on Thursday night last. PlayStation Portable hosted a party to celebrate the end of the WipeOut Pure DJ and Producer Competition, which saw one lucky DJ whose mix is to be used in the latest edition of the game WipeOut Pure, exclusively for the PSP.

The three finalists were judged by acclaimed international DJs David Holmes and Johnny Moy. They were to be joined by Seb Fontaine on the decks but unfortunately he had to cancel on the day. Not to worry though, because Moy, Holmes et al blew the roof off regardless.

The WipeOut series has long been famed for its fast-paced sci-fi racing action. The latest edition of the game, WipeOut Pure, includes a soundtrack with enough beats per minute to match the game's speedy intensity. The tracks are mainly modern electronic music, showcasing some top names from various genres, including Aphex Twin, The Chemical Brothers, Royksöpp and Tiesto.

The three finalists were Colin Flynn, Exit 15 and Philth (aka Philip Boyle). It was a tough call but the boys from Exit 15 scooped the prize on the night. Comprising of DJ Fitz, DJ Doss and Tu-Ky, Exit 15 can now look forward to immortality and acclaim.

The young and funky crowd partied till the early hours and included models Carmel Mannion and Jude Nabney, Trish Fallon of 1st Option, Maryse Fitzpatrick of Playstation, Nicola O’Riordan of Urban Outfitters and Richie Stokes, Cathy O’Connor and graffiti artist Killian Walsh.

Since Sony launched its eagerly anticipated handheld entertainment system on 1st September 2005, over 115,000 PSP's have been sold in Ireland to date. PSP, which combines portability and style, has the capability to play games, music, films, display photographs and access the Internet. Nice one.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Fairytale of Dublin

The gorgeous Marice Kavanagh of Signature Weddings pictured at her launch party recently.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Here Comes The Bride

Blushing brides to-be and pushy mother in-laws-to-be were in abundance at the Newbridge Silverware Wedding Journal Show last weekend. I jest, of course. But those girls know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to let the world know.

One of the faces I spotted amongst the tulle was top model Andrea Roche. No, I don’t think she was shopping for a wedding dress (even though she did recently get engaged to her boyfriend, the dashing PJ Mansfield). Rather she was there as one of the faces of Newbridge Silverware.

Actually, she is hosting a charity event in Renards tonight. Having been to India with the Irish aid agency GOAL, Andrea decided to organise "The Aura of India", which promises cocktails, celebrity auctions and plenty of surprises. Rugby star Victor Costello is her co-host for the evening. Go forth and support.

Anyhoo, the reason I was at the Newbridge Silverware Wedding Journal Show was to celebrate the launch of Signature Weddings, the new venture by Marice Kavanagh. Some of you socialites will know her as Marice Brady, for it is she.

Before Marice settled down and married the lovely Darren Kavanagh she was a regular face among the social elite (and a popular one). Indeed, it was her who introduced me to the delights of Lillies Bordello. Needless to say, I’ve never forgiven her since.

But I digress. Her new venture, Signature Weddings, is poised for great things. Specialising in exclusive, bespoke intimate weddings, if her own one in Tuscany a couple of years ago is anything to go by then her clients are in for a real treat. Fireworks, an endless supply of champagne and a 10 course meal – I have never experienced anything like it.

And neither will you on your special day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Best Dressed

Judith Giltinane, pictured at the Hennessy Gold Cup in Leopardstown, where she was awarded the Best Dressed Lady prize on Sunday.

Winner alright!

A gloomy morning didn’t bode well for The Hennessy Gold Cup, which was held at Leopardstown Racecourse last Sunday. No need for that essential race goers fashion accessory then – big sunglasses. Thankfully the day brightened up as it went along – though not sufficiently enough for the shades. Not that people need sun to wear shades, but I digress.

Jas Hennessey & Co. hosted a generous luncheon in The Pavillion for invited guests to celebrate the 16th annual outing of this important horse race. With potently delicious cocktails (enjoyed responsibly, natch) the crowd were advised by popular tipster Vere Wynne - Jones, with many having a winning streak.

Film director Jim Sheridan, currently riding high with his latest offering Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, attended with his wife Fran. Socialite Clodagh Kean enjoyed a day out with some gal pals and looked fab in a LBD, as did Judith Giltinane, who scooped the Best Dressed Prize, which was courtesy of Dundrum Town Centre.

I shared a table with the legendary Ronnie Drew, of The Dubliners, and his wife. Ronnie’s a gas man and I was delighted that he celebrated a few wins, including one for Blonde Ambition in the 1.50, inspired by two blonde beauties who were also at our table - model Rachel Wyse and her pal Pipa O’Connor.

Maurice Hennessy, of Jas Hennessy & Co., delivered a rambunctious speech and displayed his delight at the success of the day. Frank Grehan and his wife Sue, Dara Conlon and Roz and Avila Lipsett were also among the guests.

The Hennessy Gold Cup was easily won by the favourite, Beef Or Salmon, who now is the joint favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Irish Blog Awards

Great news darling readers! This old blog has been nominated for an Irish Blog Award in the Best Blogger and Best Arts & Culture category. If I've entertained you at all over the past, oh, few years then click the link above and vote for Social Dublin.

Muchas Gracias!

Monday, February 13, 2006

It's a Wrap

Dublin Fashion Week came to a close on Friday evening as ireland's premier department store Brown Thomas hosted a party for Irish designer Joanne Hynes, where the fashion cognoscenti gathered to talk shop and swap stories about the second DFW event and it’s success. Guests were greeted by models wearing unusual white helmets (only their eyes were visible), enhancing the impact of the Hynes creations they were wearing.

Brown Thomas GM Dalton Philips, cutting a dash in a bespoke pinstripe suit, heaped praise on Hynes and Sonia Reynolds for all their hard work in contributing to Ireland’s fashion scene, while the girls themselves paid tribute to all concerned in making the event such a hit.

D&G brand manager and VOGUE.com contributor Michelle Curtin was elegant in a red cocktail dress, while Sirin Ilwenden looked great, despite having just arrived from Dubai. Mari O’Leary, Gavin Lambe - Murphy and makeup artists Derek Carberry and Ken Boylan were also there enjoying the Moet & Chandon champagne.

PJ Gibbons and Richard Kavanagh chatted with stylist Aisling Farinella; Caroline Sleiman and her boyfriend Karl were looking forward to the Hennessy Gold Cup in Leoparstown on Sunday, as were Aoife O’Reilly and Sinead Ní Chonaill.

For some however, the fashion week wheel keeps on turning. Triona McCarthy travelled to Copenhagen Fashion Week on Thursday last, followed by a London Fashion Week before finishing in Paris for the couture shows this week.

Talk about dedicated followers of fashion!

Friday, February 10, 2006

What a model!

The gorgeous Jenny Lee Masterson was full of smiles at The Laughter Lounge party.

Specs Appeal

Alan Amsby with Keith Duffy at the Laughter Lounge launch last night.

'Avin a laff

Laughter is the best form of medicine, so say happy people. Sad people probably think that Zanax is the best form of medicine, but I digress. There were plenty of laughs last night at the launch party for the brand spanking new Laughter Lounge on Eden Quay.

After 3 years of re-development and a cost of over €6million The Laughter Lounge is back with a bang as Ireland’s premier comedy venue. In the past it has played host to a variety of acts including Bill Bailey, Des Bishop, Phil Jupitus, Dara O’Brian, Johnny Vegas and Rich Hall.

The original Laughter Lounge, which was based in a former cinema, opened its doors in December 1997 and quickly established itself as the leading comedy venue in Ireland. During the recent re-development, The Laughter Lounge went ‘on the road’ with gigs in a range of venues in Galway and Dublin.

The first eight weeks of operations will see performances by the comedians that rated highest on the ‘hot or not’ poll on The Laughter Lounge’s website.

The entertainment on offer last night was no exception with the hilarious Meave Higgins from Hidden Camera fame stealing the show, Eric Lalor and US comedian Tom Rhodes. MC for the evening was Paddy Courtney, whose overuse of profanities suggested to me that he was a little bit nervous at hosting this big gig.

He needn’t have been however, as the guests were well lubricated on champagne cocktails and Boru Vodka. Among those were comedy agent Naoise Nunn, Robbie Fox of Renards, Alan Amsby and Frances Winston, DJ Keith Foran and Jonathan McCrea.

Model Jenny Lee Masterson looked stunning, as did TV presenter Izabela Chudzicka. Actor Liam Cunningham, Denis Desmond of MCD fame, Simon Carmody and Dylan Bradshaw were also in attendance.

All this talk of The Laughter Lounge got me thinking of one of my favourite jokes …

Reverend Mother gathers the nuns: "I have to tell you, sisters, that we have discovered a case of gonorrhea at the convent."

Nun: "Thank the Lord! I'm sick of that Chardonnay."

Thank you, thank you. Have a good weekend!

Men In Black

Keith Duffy, Robbie Fox and Liam Cunningham enjoying the Laughter Lounge launch party last night.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

+++ bits + pieces +++

- Irish sports star Eamonn Coughlan recently launch the latest fundraising efforts for the Children’s Lifeline Challenge 2006 at a function in the Ocean Bar. This year will see The Liffey Duck Race in June, which will have over 150,000 yellow plastic duck participants; The Shamrock Run, a 4000-mile motorbike expedition from California to New York and the Harvest Ball which takes place in the Shelbourne Hotel on the 4th of November (the first gala ball the hotel will host since its refurbishment).

For more info go to www.childrenslifeline.ie

- Dublin Fashion Week got off to a flying start with a cocktail reception in the Morrison Hotel on Monday night. Fashionista Sonia Reynolds, the doyenne of DFW, looked amazing as she welcomed guest to stylish event. DFW, which will showcase Autumn 2006 collections, runs until Feb 8th at the Morrison Hotel. Designers include Aileen Bodkin, Amon, Ciaran Sweeney, Louise Knatchbull, Lucy Downes and Eilis Boyle.

- The surprise news broke at the weekend that TV and radio broadcaster Ryan Tubridy and his wife, Anne Marie Power, are to split up. Subsequent reports suggested that Tubridy has been seeing journalist Larissa Nolan. While I don’t know either personally, I have met them both several times and I was, like many others, surprised to hear this bit of gossip. I was unaware of any possible dangerous liasons between the two, though I have seen them in deep conversation together at the odd social occasion …

- Harvey Nichols is getting into bed with Hugh Heffner! OK, so it’s not quite as raunchy as that, but last night Harvey Nicks launched a unique "Playboy Exposed” exhibition in the menswear department of their swish Dublin store. The largest exhibition of its kind will feature more than 150 of the most iconic images from an extensive archive of over 15 million photographs, including nearly every Playboy cover to date and runs from February 6th - February 27th 2006.

- The Dubliner magazine celebrated its 5th birthday last Thursday night with a massive birthday bash. A well attended beano, it was the first event to be hosted in the new Laughter Lounge, which had the finishing touches applied minutes before the doors opened. Trevor White’s popular publication has grown from strength to strength since its inception and is now de rigueur for any self respecting well-informed city slicker.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Jameson DIFF unleashed

I’ve made mention of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival recently, but on Thursday evening last the event was officially launch, with details of the program being announced.

Arriving in the green Jameson Jaguars (gorgeous!) and gracing the red carpet were two very special guests – Ireland’s rising stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Cillian Murphy. The Golden Globe winner and the nominee caused a stir in John M. Keating, the fabulous new bar which was the location for the party.

This year’s program sees many Irish premieres and some European and world permieres too. Ones to look out for are Irish movie STUDS, which makes its world debut on Friday the 17th; the world premier of Johnny Was on Wednesday 22nd; the acclaimed Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman on Monday 20th and Syriana with George Clooney on Saturday the 18th.

A fascinating aspect of the festival is the Surprise Movie, which is one of the final screenings of the event. It always sells out well in advance, filling Ireland’s largest screening theatre, Savoy 1, even though nobody knows what they have paid to see! A previous Surprise Movie has been the first world screening of Starsky & Hutch and last year saw The Jacket by John Maybury, with an added bonus of a Q&A with Maybury himself. Book now for suspense.

As always, Jameson were genial hosts, offering a variety of delicious cocktails in several bars within JMK. Among those enjoying them were Pauline McGlynn, Tamara Gervasoni, Dave Kelly and Tim Fenn from FM104, TV presenter Alan Hughes, Triona McCarthy, Paul Trainer, Niall McCrudden of Insight Opticians (eyewear to the stars) and girl-about-town Roxanne Parker (whose new column in the Irish Independent is a must-read).

Top model Eoin Macken was there too (he’s just finished an Abercrombie & Fitch campaign), as was Julian Benson, Norman Pratt, Corinna Field and Reena Hammer, beautiful girlfriend of Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival runs from the 17th to the 26th of February.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Pole Position

When I received the gilt edged invitation from none other than Peter J. Stringfellow I sent my RSVP right way. This invite was much awaited and coveted alike! The opening of his new Stringfellows lap dancing club has caused sure a furore over the past months that my curiosity, and that of many others, had been well and truly whetted.

There was a champagne reception (my fourth in as many days) for select members of the press and media, who were given the opportunity to ogle, sorry, I mean look at the girls before the official opening of the club. After my friend Corinna Field and I battled our way through the hordes of protestors we felt immediately safer inside the darkened hallows. Although, truth be told, the protestors were more the "Down With That Sort of Thing" Father Ted type!

The decor is quite dark, with plenty of use made of chandeliers, leopard print upholstery and gold framing. Plasma TV screens are well positions, so you won't miss a thing as you down your €15 glass of brandy.

We got chatting to two dancers who were most pleasant and wanted to know where we would recommend they visit while staying in Dublin. I advised as best I could and guessed correctly that they were more interested in the Guinness Storehouse than the Book of Kells.

After the paparazzi had gotten their shots and the excitement died down (although I'm not sure if the excitement did die down) I spotted Ray Senior of ShowBiz Ireland, TV presenter Alan Hughes and Jonathan McCrea. Also, Sarah McInerney and her boyfriend Dave, singer Hazel Kaneswaren and columnist Jason O'Callaghan, who, in his new blacked out Range Rover, perfectly fits the bill of a Stringfellow patron - that's somebody with lots of money.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Driving Force of Fashion

I don't get out to Harvey Nicols as often as I would like to, so every opportunity to visit the fashion mecca is gratefully embraced. I attended the launch of the BMW Fashion Awards there on Tuesday evening with my good friend Judith Giltinane, who is busy becoming an interior designer.

Judith also loved fashion, so when we spotted Sonia Reynolds we just had to grill her about the upcoming Dublin Fashion Week, which is her brainchild. Launching next Monday, this is the 2nd DFW and, again, will be hosted in the trendy Morrison Hotel. Sonia is excited, and so she should be. Her verve and enthusiasm is second to none and DFW has already proven to be a huge success.

As for the BMW Fashion Awards, well this event is totally in it's stride. In association with the Irish Heart Foundation, it offers new designers the opportunity to bolster their careers and this year the event celebrates it's 10th anniversary. This year's panel of judges include designers Marc O’Neill, Synan O’Mahony and Peter O’Brien.

Among those sipping HN champagne were Jennifer Stevens of Irish Tatler magazine, Deirdre Farrell of Irish Distillers, Nicola Bell and Claire O'Neill of BMW and TV and radio broadcaster Pat Kenny.