Wednesday, November 29, 2006


In City Hall for the Swarovski show and party were: 1. Kate Synott, Derrick Carberry and Paula Callen - O'Keeffe. 2. Avila Lipsett and Emily O'Donnell. 3. Irma modelling Swarovski. 4. Nikki Hayes and Marissa Mackle.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nokia 8800

At the Nokia 8800 Sirocco Limited Edition launch party were: 1. Caroline Sleiman and Karl Purdy. 2. Gráinne Seoige and Graham Knuttel. 3. Aisling Kilduff and Siobhan Carnigie. 4. Benoit Bringer and Wayne Cronin.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Festive Bling!

A popular venue for high-end parties is No. 16, St. Stephens Green. An imposing townhouse near the corner of Dawson Street, it was completely renovated and refurbished last year by Hugh O’Regan, the man behind the Thomas Read Group. Each large reception room is like a blank canvas and they are always dramatically lit according to whatever party is being hosted there.

The launch of the special edition Nokia 8800 Sirocco was one such party that had the building looking at it’s best. In keeping with the sleek, ultra modern design of the mobile (which is exclusive to Brown Thomas), the house was kitted out with state-of-the-art lights and plasma screen TVs. In keeping with the exclusivity, delicious canapés were a plenty and Veuve Cliquot champagne flowed freely.

Among those I spotted were designer John McCormack, Avila Lipsett and Emily O’Donnell, who is one of the organisers of the huge annual DIT fashion show in Vicar Street. Avila’s sister, top model Roz Lipsett was also there (she’s been tipped as a possible new face of Guess? clothing). Benoit Bringer brought a certain je ne sais quoi to the party, as did Gráinne Seoige who interviewed artist Graham Knuttel, after he unveiled a painting specially commissioned by Nokia for the event. The painting, by the way, was pretty much like every other one he’s ever done, but with the added feature of a Nokia.

A highly anticipated event on the social calendar is the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Awards, which was held in the Mansion House recently. Broadcaster Bryan Dobson and publisher of Irish Tatler magazine Norah Casey were hosts for the evening (Norah definitely has a career in TV if she ever gets tired of publishing).

The glamorous ladies present broke out the diamonds for the occasion and the red carpet was like the runway of a couture show. Among the guests at the sumptuous dinner were Lancome’s Helen Feely, TV3’s Debbie O’Donnell and Laura Bermingham, Ruth Negga, Barry Egan, Sharon McCabe (whose new Radisson SAS Farnham Estate hotel in Cavan is the toast of the country), designer Ciaran Sweeney, Sally – Ann Flanagan, Minister Mary Hanafin TD, Norma Smurfit and Lainey Keogh.

The top accolade went to tireless charity worker Adi Roche. Her amazing achievements ensured that she was a most worthy winner and she received a standing ovation as she accepted the award.

Continuing the glitz and the glam, international bling masters Swarovski hosted a party in City Hall to celebrate the opening of their two new Dublin stores, Grafton St. and Henry St. – equal opportunity locations! Famed for their collections of crystal figurines, the design powerhouse is now better known for jewellery and fashion accessories (Swarovski was all over London Fashion Week this year).

Irish fashion journalists were out in force getting a sneak peak at the new Spring Summer collection. Sarah McDonnell from The Gloss was among the many fashionistas who enjoyed front row seats for the slick show, which was produced by Graham Cruz. Other representatives from the world of Irish fashion included stylists Sonja Mohlich, Paula Hughes and Aisling Farinella as well as fashion photographer Barry McCall.

Other guests enjoying the Moet & Chandon reception included Anna Wood from the Clarence Hotel, Brendan Scully and Sean Montague, Delores Delaney, Daniela Sabitini and Audrey Brennan (who have just launched their new company Develop) as well as author Marissa Mackle. After the spectacular fashion show models Kathryn Calvert and Irma worked the room allowing the magpies to get a closer look at the glittering array of jewellery available. Blingtastic!

The much-loved Meteor Ireland Music Awards will take place on Thursday the 1st of February and it was announced recently that the hosts will be Deirdre O’Kane and the inimitable duo of Podge & Rodge O'Leprosy (who kindly sent me a big box of their new Culchie Crisps yesterday!). The announcement was made at a luncheon in Fire last week and among the guests were Caroline Downey, Trish and Julian Fallon (busy searching for the country’s next top model), Fergal Breen of Irish Dev, Andrew Kelly of Meteor, Paul Trainer, Ray Shah and Deirdre O’Kane (who certainly was on fire as she made her witty speech). Get voting for “The Meteors” now.

Shopping, you either love it or hate it. But when the opportunity to shop at a sample sale arises then you gotta love it. Paddy Kelly of the RB menswear store in the Powerscourt Shopping Centre hosted a shopping evening last week and there was no shortage of punters to snap up D&G jeans for half nothing. I spotted stylist Leoné Amor (it’s a good sign when a stylist shops at your store), photographer Yvonne Kelly (who hosts a vernissage at the same centre on the 14th), writer Barbara McCarthy (she’s off to Goa soon) and Chris McDonnell of rock band Latitude (their new single “No Room for the Timid” is in record stores now).

In case you need a reason to visit RB, Paddy also stocks the amazing shirt brand 1 Like No Other, which is designed by Bronagh Griffin in Derry. Handmade, there are only 500 of each design produced so you are guaranteed not to clash with the high-street-shirt-wearing boys at the Christmas party.

While I’m on the subject of menswear, luxury gift brand Newbridge Silverware recently named rugby star Ronan O’Gara as the new face of its latest men’s line. Sporting a slick watch and cufflinks at an event in the members club of the RDS, O’Gara was obviously thrilled at the association (he’s up there as a face of Newbridge now). Among those wishing him well on the day were Amanda Brunker, Michael O’Doherty, Anne Boylan, William Doyle and Today FM’s Paul Collins.

Incidentally, Newbridge Silverware has kindly decorated the Christmas trees at O’Connell St., Grafton St. and The Mansion House this year. The specially commissioned star decorations will be auctioned off after the festive season with proceeds going to the charity Trust. The trees were lit on Sunday evening by the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Vincent Jackson, and a host of beauties including Rosanna Davison, Andrea Roche, Rose of Tralee Kathryn Feeney, Phil Donnelly and Celia Holman – Lee.

Each of them stars in their own right.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pictured at the recent opening of the fabulous new Karen Millen store on Grafton Street are (l-r): Karen Millen, Ian Galvin, Caroline Morahan and Pamela Flood.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Guggi and Gavin Friday (left) and Astrid Brennan, Orla Deane and Rachel Kavanagh (right) pictured at recent Top 100 Best Restaurants launch by The Dubliner.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fabulous Food & Fashion

Not many fashion labels can claim to be top of their game for over 21 years. And even less of them are Irish. Congratulations then to Kartel, the menswear brand that has been a staple of the golf course for over 21 years. They celebrated with a big party in Samasara recently with invitations that were accompanied with the “key of the door”. If your key fit the lock then congratulations, you won a prize (the first birthday party I’ve attended where the guests get gifts).

International golfer Padraig Harrington was a guest of honour – he’s been a supporter of Kartel (and vice versa) for many years – and was high on his recent European Tour Order of Merit win. Other guests there on the night included Social & Personal publisher PJ Gibbons, Declan and Derbhla Leavy, Glenda Gilson, Alan Amsby, rugby player Malcolm O’Kelly and Richard Kavanagh.

Later on that evening I ventured down to the IFSC where Budweiser were hosting an event to launch the BudLight brand in Ireland. The vast space of chq was the location and TV / radio star Vernon Kay was the man of the night. I’m still not sure what the point of drafting in Mr. Kay was but as far as entertainment goes it was, well, entertaining. More wedding DJ than club DJ. And the vast chq space left some looking for an atmosphere.

Nonetheless, guests such as Eoin Higgins, Nadine and Sarah Jane Wai – O’Flynn, author Marisa Mackle and Norman Pratt enjoyed the gig, with some of them continuing on to SIN for Maria Fusco’s fashion show which featured her trendy Ave Maria store and, which I’m reliably informed, went on till the wee small hours.

One recent party that certainly did not lack atmosphere was the launch of The Dubliner's Top 100 Best Restaurants Guide. The magnificent Banking Hall in The Westin hotel was the location for what has become one of the best-attended parties of the year. Publisher Trevor White (fresh from a trip to NYC) certainly knows how to play host and at one stage I even spotted him topping up guest’s glasses with Santa Rita vino, which flowed all evening.

This years people’s choice award went to l’Gueuleton, the very popular French eatery on Fade Street which still has punters queuing up around the corner in the hope of securing an 8pm table. A triumphant Troy Maguire was on hand to accept the award.

The guide itself has experienced somewhat of a makeover and now sports a funky new look, which no doubt will ensure a broader appeal. There are a number of new additions this year (and indeed a few omissions) but as always it’s the discerning gourmands of Dublin’s public who have the greatest say in what restaurants make the cut.

Some of the discerning gourmands present on the evening included Gavin Friday and his artist pal Guggi, Sinead Ryan, Brendan O’Connor, model Carmel Mannion, TV chef Andrew Rudd, Fiachna O’Braonáin, Jay Bourke and RTE’s Kelly Barnes. Bon appetit (which, as my French friend tells me, they don’t say in France)!

It would appear that many of the aforementioned gourmands are also beauty junkies, as many of them went from The Dubliner party to Cocoon, where Donna Ledwidge was hosting a birthday party for her popular Donnybrook beauty salon High Maintenance. Stylist to the stars Leoné Amore was looking every inch an effortless high maintenance girl, as was Triona McCarthy and her sister Laura. Rosanna Davison was also there with her new beau, the dashing Wesley Quirke. Incidentally, look out for Wes’ brother Andy’s new single, Skanger Me Banger, which will be in shops before Christmas. No, seriously!

One of the most glamorous events of late has been the opening party of the swanky new Karen Millen store on Grafton Street. The fashion stakes were high (and the heels too) as the paparazzi scrum outside the store caught the arrival of the stylish guests, who included hot duo Pamela Flood and Caroline Morahan, Gayle Killilea, Lisa Breen – Fitzpatrick, Roisín Ní Mhordha and Margaret Nelson.

Inside, the store looks amazing. It could easily be the interior of London’s latest hip club or New York’s newest hotel. Lights, mirrors, glass and that ceiling! All offset of course by the beautiful threads that hung “off the rails”. TV presenter Anna Nolan, Alan Bruton and Sonya Mohlich, top model Andrea Roche, The Sunday Times’ Enda Leahy (who recently picked up a Law Society Justice Media Award) and Larissa Nolan, Collette Fitzpatrick and Debbie O’Donnell were also among those present.

The Tattinger flowed all night as we were treated to a fashion show of the latest KM pieces, after a touching ad-libbed speech from Ian Galvin, head of Mosaic Ireland, the company responsible for the brand and many others including Coast and Whistles.

Of course the star of the evening was Ms. Karen Millen herself. She leapt from a chauffeur driven car into the arms of the paps and subsequently glided around the party from air kiss to air kiss wearing the highest heels I’d ever seen. She’s a petit woman, but as I said, the fashion stakes were high.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nik Quaiffe and Louise O'Reilly enjoy The Dubliner Top 100 Best Restaurants launch party at The Westin recently.