What price a waterproof fascinator as stiletto-wearing women dive for cover
IT’S ALL very well bringing your finest hat to the Dublin Horse Show, but what happens when the heavens open? Some 450 women entered the best-dressed lady competition at the RDS yesterday, and it seemed every one carried some fascinator or decorative feature on their coiffed heads.
They basked in the sunshine, exotic plumage billowing gently on their heads as they queued to enter the competition. Of course, the rain came. Buckets of it. And so we were treated to the sight of hordes of stiletto-wearing women tottering for cover in case the elaborate creations on their heads collapsed into sodden messes.
Watching the scene unfurl were some canny spectators, who whipped out plastic bags, paper bags and even newspapers to keep their heads dry. It was widely accepted that The Irish Times provided the best coverage for that sort of thing.
Who needs horses when you have this sort of entertainment? And indeed, there were some women who admitted they had not caught sight of a horse at the Dublin Horse Show. They included Dundalk GP Maeve Byrne, who arrived late and bagged the prize for the most colourful outfit. She had worn her canary yellow coat to several weddings but decided it was time to introduce it to the horses.
Asked whether it had frightened them, she said: “No, but I have to confess I haven’t seen a horse yet.”
She has her late grandmother Monica to thank for her prize: a Longines watch worth more than €3,000. “My granny had an immense taste for fashion so she used to go to Paris every year and buy clothes. She got this [coat] in Bleu Marine back in the ’60s.”
The young Maeve often raided her granny’s wardrobe and dressed up in the coat. “I always thought it was pretty, so when my granny died she left it to me.”
The winner of the best-dressed lady competition also had someone else to thank for her outfit. A very generous boyfriend with immaculate taste bought Lucy Gilmorr Murphy a cream Calvin Klein dress for her birthday. “I didn’t point it out, I didn’t give any hints,” she insisted. A milliner, she made the hat to match her Jimmy Choo shoes and teamed them with a Penneys bag that cost “maybe €8”. Her boyfriend gallantly did not reveal the price of the dress.
The 24-year-old from Enniskerry won a trip for two to New York worth €8,000.
“I can’t wait, a free holiday, it’s just every girl’s dream.” But unless she wants to upset her gift giver, this won’t be a trip for the girls. “I think I’ll have to bring him, really, since he bought the dress.”
She recently won another best-dressed competition at the Curragh, with the same shawl but another one of her hats. “They’re super self-promotion days,” the milliner said, giving her website address to all and sundry.
And there was more super self-promotion in the industries halls, where more than 300 stand holders have been exhibiting their wares. You could walk out of there with a ceramic bull under your oxter, or perhaps a pair of Italian riding boots, priced at a cool €489. Or what about a quick spot of palm-reading, teeth-whitening or eyebrow shaping? Now, if only they sold waterproof fascinators.