Monday, February 26, 2007

Top Cats

At the Nokia / Topshop party were 1. Anna Pfeifer , 2. Sarah Deeney and Mundy and 3. Lisa and Carath Quinn .
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fashion statement

Look good, feel good I say. I can’t understand why people would not want to look their best at all times. On occasion I’ll ring up a gal pal and invite her out for a few after work cocktails only to be told that she can’t as she looks like a knacker and will not show her face around town.

Have you had a stroke?” I’ll enquire, thinking that the only reason anyone would leave the house looking like a knacker is because they’ve taken leave of their senses.

OK, so it’s a figure of speech, but all the same I think you should be dressed up and ready to go anywhere at the drop of a, well, hat. I don’t understand all those celebrities who are pictured looking awful in tracksuit bottoms and oversize cardies. It’s not a good look and you really should know by now that the paps are out to get you. As for the phenomenon of wearing pyjamas to the shops / chipper / dole office here in Dublin, well don’t get me started. My time is precious enough without ranting on these pages about that fashion faux pas.

It’s nice to see that so many of the social set take pride in their appearance. Granted, some have the fashion sense of a blind person in TK Maxx, but thankfully they’re in the minority - and I guess they do provide the rest of us with good entertainment value, but I digress. It’s not easy dressing up all the time. Everyone scrutinising your outfit, accessories and hair – and that’s just the boys!

Thankfully there is always inspiration on the horizon. Nokia, those arbiters of style, recently announced the names of this years 12 finalists in the Nokia Young Designer of the Year competition. Moet & Chandon provided the fizz and Image Magazine.

The finalists were selected from design colleges across 32 counties, with eight of them chosen from the Limerick School of Art and Design and four from the National College of Art and Design – a great demonstration of the colleges’ commitment to fashion. The 8 LSAD students, chosen for their creativity and vision include; Sinead Lawlor from Co. Dublin, Aimée O'Beirne and Carol Hopkins both from Co. Kildare, Jane Horgan and Alanna Murphy from Co. Louth, Sarah Greer, a native of Co. Waterford, Fionnuala Donnelly from Co. Meath and Deirdre Brennan who hails from Co. Westmeath. The finalists selected from NCDA include Aislinn Sweeney from Co. Kerry, Paget Scott – McCarthy from Co. Cork, Jennifer Browne from Co. Dublin and Aoife Perry from Co. Kildare.

The panel consists of some of the leading figures in Irish and international fashion; Buying Director of Topshop, Caren Downie, Style Editor of Grazia magazine, Paula Reed, London based designer, Jonathon Saunders, young Irish fashion designer Leigh Tucker and accessories designer, Pauric Sweeney.

The finalists are now tasked with bringing their designs to life on the catwalk at a glittering finale in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on Tuesday 27th March, where the overall winner will be crowned. Every year this show seems to get bigger and better (I remember fondly when it was an intimate event in Dundrum Town Centre car park) and it’s marvellous to see it prosper.

On the same evening Halina Ashdown Sheils and her crew at Advanced Cosmetic Surgery hosted a cocktail reception in Cocoon to celebrate the first screening of Inside & Out, a new 4 part makeover show on TV3. Nothing much new here in terms of originality, but the fact that it’s Irish, with Irish participants was enough to make me tune in. Cindy Caffola, Alan Amsby, PJ Gibbons, Sinead Ryan and Andrew Rudd were just some of the guests on the evening.

Three of the four candidates featured in the series were also there on the evening - Denise Hayes (the subject of the first programme) Deirdre Whelan and Carl Owens. And they looked pretty good to me.Ireland's first personal extreme makeover show, it’s a joint venture between TV3 and Edge Films and airs on TV3 each Wednesday at 8pm for the next four weeks (repeat on Sunday I think), with each programme following an individual over 12 weeks as they undergo a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

Speaking of transformations, Harcourt Street has been home to many nightclubs in it’s time, with many of them going through various incarnations. Krystle is one such place (and I’m afraid I don’t know what it was before, but that hardly matters). They recently launched their Thursday night club and if you’ve never been to Krystle then what are you waiting for?

It’s slick and stylish and has the most amazing outdoor smoking area in the city. Very Nikki Beach (without the pool, natch). Some of the heads I spotted there on Thursday night were Thomas Black of You’re A Star, Triona McCarthy, Helen O’Dwyer and Rosanna Davison.

Dress up and get down!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bombay Sapphire

At the recent Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition in Ely CHQ: 1. Kate Earlie, Wayne Cronin and Trish Algar, 2. Edel Kellet, 3. Rosanna Davison.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Drink up!

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. That’s an adage that I try and live up to. Its origins are from the Bible itself. Who am I to disgree? When party organisers want nothing more than for us to eat, drink and be merry it’s pretty hard not to. Lately there’s been a plethora of alcohol lead parties (remember kids, drink responsibly!), and as every socialite worth his or her hangover knows, they’re the best ones.

The large open expanse of the RHA Gallery (a hidden gem on Ely Place) was the venue for the extravagant relaunch of Rosemount Wines recently. In this day and age of ever changing consumer habits, it’s important to keep ahead of the competition, so Rosemount have not only improved on their wines but also introduced a new funky “diamond” shaped bottle. Basically the bottom of the wine bottle isn’t round but kinda square shaped. Or diamond shaped (depending on how much of the stuff you’ve had to drink).

Some of the cool cats at that soiree were Sophie Flynn – Rogers, back from Goa and an inspiration to us all; Avila Lipsett and Emily O’Donnell added a touch of glam as always, the former accompanied by her new beau, Stephen Day. Fraser Brown, Fergal Breen and Roisin Ni Mhordha were also among the guests who enjoyed themselves. One person who really enjoyed himself though was Jamie Macken who won a diamond worth €14,000 from Rumour had it that he was going to use it for an engagement ring, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if that happens!

I’m often asked to recommend good bars in Dublin and I tend to rattle off a list of my favoured watering holes. We all have our faves and it really is a matter of opinion – one persons Keoghs is another’s Cocoon. Guess which of that pair I’d recommend?

Anyhoo, the inimitable Trevor White has solved this conundrum by publishing The Dubliner Top 100 Bars book. Like his hugely successful Top 100 Restaurants guide, this handy little number will guide you through the good, the great and the best of Dublin pubs. Oddly enough Cocoon doesn’t make it onto the list (something about change of ownership as the book was going to print) but Keoghs is in the Top 10. Go figure.

The cavernous Odeon bar played host to the launch party (itself in the Top 10). To say the place was packed would be an understatement, but that’s a testament to the popularity of the boys at The Dubliner magazine. Some of the heads to pop along and show their support were Astrid Brennan, Sinead Ryan and Malachy Geelan, Kate Candon, Jonothon Sultan and John McKibbon, Elaine Byrne, Niall McCrudden and Fiona Roche. Incidentally, three of the aforementioned will be hosting lavish 40th birthday parties soon. If I’m lucky enough to score an invite you might be lucky enough to read all about them!

Diarmuid Gavin, one of Ireland’s best loved home grown (sorry, couldn’t resist - groan) talents, was in town lately to announce the winner of the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass competition. Hosted in the impressive Ely CHQ restaurant, the finale attracted some of the hottest names in the future of Irish design.

There were an abundance of specially concocted Bombay Sapphire cocktails (made by the expert mixologists) served on the evening with the likes of Rosanna Davison and Wesley Quirke, RTE weather girl Audrey McGrath, Nadine Wai – O’Flynn, Andy Bowse, Ozzy Osbourne's son Louis and his wife Louise Osbourne (one of few outings for the couple since the birth of their son), Norman Pratt, stylist Graham Cruz, Malcolm Byrne, City Channel 's Izabela Chudzicka (with her new copper red hair do) and her new beau Eoin Mullally all enjoying them.

The American heat of this international contest attracted some 50 entries, while here some 300 were received, such is the talent on this fair isle. The top prize went to Edel Kellet, a third year student of NCAD, with her creation "NARINA", who now goes on to represent Ireland at the world final in Milan. Best wishes to her.

Speaking of Ely, the ever popular restaurant has just opened at yet another location, this time on Hanover Quay. Cleverly called Ely HQ (although perhaps confusing with the existing Ely CHQ?), it has the look and feel of a trendy Manhatten joint. As always the food is top notch (with chef Thomas Doyle in the kitchen), while the wine list is a connoisseurs dream. The launch party on Valentine’s Day proved to be a massive hit and was jammed with fans and supporters including Brendan O’Connor, Shirley Beere, Eoin Higgins, Joanne Rochford and Joan Scales.

While I’m on the subject of wine I have to mention that ENO Wine has just opened a new dedicated wine shop and restaurant in the IFSC on Mayor Square. In place there is an innovative card system that you credit and then use to sample the various different wines on offer. So you can taste very expensive wines that on a menu you normally might baulk at!

Rounding off (what reads like a special edition) I’ve heard that Dowlings on Baggot Street is to close. Former stomping ground of Gavin Lambe – Murphy, who has moved to Harry’s on Dawson Street, the premises will be turned into a new restaurant / food hall. Meanwhile the future of Maguire’s pub on Baggot Street is uncertain with rumours that apartments are to consume the building, ditto for The Pembroke pub around the corner.

Not to worry, with your new Top 100 Best Bars guide from The Dubliner you’ll have no end of new places to hang out in.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


At the Rosemount party were: 1. Avila Lipsett, Stephen Day and Emily O'Donnell, 2. Anne Boylan and Triona McCarthy, 3. Jamie Macken and Aoife Gormley.
Posted by Picasa