A Rose by any other frock
It’s Rose of Tralee time again and young women from around the world will be in town, but must they go all shiny prom chic with a hint of early ‘Dynasty’?
FOR THOSE OF YOU suffering from post-Olympics comedown, wondering what you’ll do with yourselves, your weekday evenings and your TV remotes, you can rejoice at the news that, in five short days, your screens will once again come alive for the 53rd annual Rose of Tralee competition, hosted by the inimitable Daithí Ó Sé.
The festival claims to “bring young women of Irish descent around the world to Co Kerry, Ireland, for a global celebration of Irish culture”, but that hasn’t prevented dissenters from accusing it of sexism, objectifying women and good old-fashioned misogyny. Really, the Rose of Tralee is a good old-fashioned beauty pageant, featuring lovely girls in lovely frocks being lovely to each other, to their escorts and, crucially, to their mammies. What it is not, more to the point, is an exhibition of style.
And why not? Surely young women eager to impress Daithí (and, of course, a rapt audience sitting at home, a viewership that peaked in 2010 at almost a million) would be keen to gussy up and, as their mammies might say, “look your best”.
Au contraire: it would seem contestants are stuck in a 1990s time where satin is more plentiful than running water and “shiny prom chic with a hint of early Dynasty” is the dress code. The true irony, of course, is that the millennium-era Roses had more style about them – pastel suits an’ all – than the current batch could muster up if their lives depended on it.
This year, we can expect to see at least two Gone With the Wind-inspired looks – full skirt and sweetheart neckline, as demonstrated by last year’s Down Rose, Gemma Murphy. At least one – if not five – Roses will turn up in embellished dresses and think themselves very edgy for straying off the path of block-coloured satin. Bonus points for Irish dancing in said dress, à la 2011’s Leitrim Rose, Martha Gilheaney. At least one – thank you, Roisin Mulligan, 2008’s Texas Rose – will turn up in novelty headgear, and another will opt for something slightly Oriental to show her worldly spirit, in the style of 2008 winner, Aoife Kelly, from Tipperary.
The crucial point is, of course, that the Rose of Tralee is not a beauty pageant, and therefore, looks don’t matter. You could turn up in a black sack, as long as you have a decent talent. Hang on, you don’t need a talent? Well, then . . . better look pretty.
Don’t get bogged down in the fashion-blogger mist
This isn’t really a query about clothes, but I’m going into fifth year in school and I really want to get into fashion. I read loads of fashion blogs such as Style Bubble, Fashiontoast, Bryanboy and Whisty, but I don’t read a lot of magazines because I don’t have very much pocket money. On a very small budget, what would you say are must-buys? I like ‘Glamour’ because they have good freebies but I find ‘Vogue’ a bit boring.