Young & Irish: Green on the Red Carpet, by MK Campbell

Young & Irish Green on the Red Carpet
Mary Kate Campbell

On February 24th, two Irish designers stood alongside the creations from fashion legends, such as Vera Wang, Chanel, Calvin Klein, and Givenchy, and watched their own dresses grace the red carpet.

Dublin couturier Helen Cody, known for her romantic style and ethereal craftsmanship, dressed Nuria González Blanco, producer of Oscar nominated short film, Late Afternoon. She wore a smoky grey and lavender silk taffeta creation that took over 300 hours to make. The dress was originally created for the Crafts Council of Ireland Portfolio, but Blanco fell in love with the piece and Cody agreed to let it be worn for such an important occasion.

Cody comments, “She knew about my work and emailed me. When she came to my studio and tried it on, I realized I could not top this ever. It is a master dress and it brings me joy to see someone so exquisite representing an Irish brand on the red carpet.”

Blanco was accessorized with diamond and sapphire earrings by Yvonne Ross of Kilkenny.

Galway born, Alison Conneely designed for Louis Bagnall, writer and director of the same film, Late Afternoon. Bagnall was dressed in a full-length silk gown with a simple silhouette and a vibrant color.

“A director is not a glamor model and there is a different form of artistic expression to an A-list celebrity. We tried a few different looks that are contemporary and modern and that express her personality rather than the dress wearing her,” Conneely explains when asked about her creative process.

Bagnall’s accessories were designed by Dublin-based jeweler Natasha Sterling.

Cody and Conneely are not the first Irish designers to make the red carpet. In 2010, Kildare designer Laura-Jayne Halton dressed Nora Twomey, director of The Secret of Kells, nominated for best animated feature film, and in 2013 dressed Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, producer of Head Over Heels, which was nominated for best short film.

These two women are prime examples of how the Irish continue to succeed and push boundaries in the arts. They are forging a path for other designers to be recognized in the future by actors, writers, and directors. And maybe by the 2020 Academy Awards, the red carpet will be a little greener. 

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