The Social Network


A real sister act at the Kennedy show

“There were never such devoted sisters,” as Irving Berlin would put it, as at Louise Kennedy’s spring-summer fashion show on Tuesday evening at her flagship store on Merrion Square. The Mahonys, the Quinns, the Morrises, the Scullys, the Finns and the Kennedys themselves were out in force.

Designer Louise Kennedy welcomed her guests at the door as her PR sister, Caroline Kennedy, worked the room.

Dr Rhona Mahony, the new master of the National Maternity Hospital, on Holles Street, was accompanied by her sister, Jane. Rhona launched a National Maternity Hospital Foundation last week and moved to a new house in Clontarf the same day. She told me that she was due on The Late Late Showlast night to talk about the foundation and a fashion show she’s planning in the Irish Room of the National Gallery on March 30th.

Jane, who lives in Ranelagh and is currently doing a PhD in literary history and publishing at TCD, knows a thing or two about Holles Street since her husband, Dr Peter Boylan, is the former master of the hospital.

Ali Obernik is looking forward to starting with the law firm A L Goodbody in a few weeks. Her sister Sarah Quinn is working for Louise Kennedy in Merrion Square. Their father, the businessman Lochlann Quinn – one of the owners of the nearby Merrion Hotel – was not there, but their mother, Brenda, was catching up with Valerie Morris, wife of Mr Justice Frederick Morris. Valerie’s daughters Melanie and Melissa were also there.

Hannah Scully from Trim, Co Meath, works part-time with Louise Kennedy. The rest of her time is spent at Trinity College, where she’s studying speech and language therapy. Her sister, Ruth Scully, used to work for Louise Kennedy and is moving to London in a few weeks. She got engaged to Paul Ormond from Tipperary at Christmas.

Ann Finn from Brown Thomas and her sister Oonagh – who is the antique dealer Michael Mortell’s partner – were deep in conversation with the broadcaster Tom McGurk, while Fr Michael Collins, of St Mary’s on Haddington Road, chatted to Dervila Moloney of NBK Architects.

Who we spottedStylist Peter Shaffrey; Marie Chawke of Aghadoe Heights Hotel; Margaret Costigan from Ballsbridge; Elaine Bennett; Laura Keane; fashion stylist Courtney Smith from Malahide; Lorna Weightman from Kilcullen, Co Kildare

What we drankRosé champagne

Moving house and shifting gear

The haute couturier turned art dealer and gallery owner Ib Jorgensen is selling part of his private collection at de Veres’ interiors auction next month. He has sold his house on Haddington Road and is downsizing to a flat in St Ann’s on Ailesbury Road. He told me that he’s not selling any of his personal paintings. “It will be mainly antiques and light fittings which I bought down through the years in Sotheby’s and Christie’s.” The viewing of the lots and the auction will take place at the Berkeley Court hotel on April 20th and 21st, with the auction on April 22nd.

Jorgensen came to Ireland from Denmark in 1950 and attended Morgan’s School – which was eventually taken over by the King’s Hospital school – and remembers playing rugby as a schoolboy against a young Tony O’Reilly. He studied at the Grafton Academy, after which he opened his own atelier. At the age of 25 he had his first fashion show under his own label, at the Shelbourne. Over the years he has dressed many influential women, including former president Mary Robinson for her visit to Buckingham Palace.

Harvey loves housewives

A candy bracelet was given out to people destined for the front row at the Harvey Nichols spring-summer fashion show on Thursday evening.

There was a distinct Desperate Housewivestheme, with white picket fencing, leafy trees and a grass catwalk. All that was missing was Bree Van de Kamp and a tray of cupcakes. The nearest we got was Roz Flanagan of Southside Housewives, who was being followed by a camera for the forthcoming series. The consensus was that the stylist Sarah Rickard – whose boyfriend, Conor Lantry, watched proudly from the audience – made a great impact with her first show for the store.

Kenny Robertson, the director of Harvey Nichols in Dublin, told me he has had his eyebrows threaded. Apparently it’s all the rage and they do it at Harvey Nicks now.

Mary Kennedy, the presenter of Nationwide, on RTÉ 1, was there with her daughter Lucy Foster, who is in her final year of studying social science at UCD. Kennedy is in Westport this weekend, signing her book Lines for Living. The stylist Emily O’Donnell was wearing a Tim Ryan shawl that she bought at the Design Centre at Powerscourt especially for the show. She’s looking forward to the VIP style awards at the Shelbourne Hotel on Friday, March 23rd.

Mary Brennan from Mount Merrion in Dublin, who was dressed from head to toe in Donna Karan, caught up with her friend Jackie Lavin, who was accompanied by Bill Cullen.

The show ended with a series of looks flown in from the flagship Harvey Nichols store, in Knightsbridge, including pieces by Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney.

What we drankChampagne and wine

What we ateOur candy bracelets

Who we spottedJP McManus’s daughter-in-law, Anne Marie McManus; Annette Rocca, Louise Loughman Byrne

All Dew respect, but it's a hard one to Swallow

At the launch of Conor Brady’s new book, A June of Ordinary Murders, in the Oak Room of the Mansion House on Monday evening, Des O’Malley said he had identified one fault with the book.

He noted that although the protagonist, Det Sgt Joe Swallow, was based in Dublin, he had a penchant for Tullamore Dew, the whiskey produced in Brady’s home town. The choice of drink might have appealed to Dr Margaret Downes, who arrived at the launch with Michael Colgan of the Gate Theatre. Downes’s late sister, Mary, married into the Williams distilling family in Tullamore.

O’Malley recalled other Irish Timesfriends who became novelists, including Maeve Binchy. “I hope you appear in as many airports as she does.”

Leonie Lloyd-Von Koenig knew Brady from childhood in Tullamore. She was catching up with Úna Connaughton, who went to school at Loreto Navan with Brady’s wife, Ann. Úna and Ann met Brady for the first time at a school debating competition when Brady was at Cistercian College in Roscrea. After school the three of them went on to UCD.

Will Hynes was accompanied by his sister Amie Hynes, who was celebrating her birthday. They are the grandchildren of the publican Dessie Hynes, the former owner of O’Donoghue’s pub on Merrion Row. Will Hynes recently took over John Doyle’s pub in Phibsborough, which reopened last week.

Who we spottedMaurice Manning, who taught Brady politics at UCD; Tom Parlon, also a former student of Cistercian College in Roscrea; Garda Ombudsman Carmel Foley; the Nigerian ambassador, Catherine Muigai Mwangi, and her sister Jane Muigai-Briggs; U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness; David Davin Power of RTÉ; the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns; John L O’Donnell SC; the former president of UCD Dr Art Cosgrove.

Irish art's Da Vinci code: the painting Jack lent to Dev

The editor of the Irish Arts Review, John Mulcahy, could give Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Codea run for its money, judging by his speech at the launch of the Annual Price Guide to Irish Art 2011-12 at the Westbury in Dublin on Wednesday evening. Jack Yeats’s A Fair Day, Mayo, which sold for more than €1 million at Adam’s last September, was for a period lent by Yeats to de Valera to hang in his office. The reason for the loan has perplexed Mulcahy, who believes that the picture contains a secret message. The Kathleen Ní­ Houlihan-like figure gazes up at a tall, dark man with his back to us. This may be de Valera, according to Mulcahy. Or the lady may have meant something to de Valera. Why else would Yeats have lent it to him?

The banker John Cunningham told me that he is going to London for St Patrick’s weekend with his family and the Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Norah Casey to stay at the Gore Hotel, in Queensgate. He was singing the praises of Suzanne MacDougald’s latest exhibition at her new Solomon Fine Art gallery, beside the Westbury, entitled Keep Going, Sure It’s Grand, in which everything is priced under €1,200. It’s a take on the British wartime slogan Keep Calm and Carry On.

Adam’s director Stuart Cole was getting ready for Adam’s fine-art auction next Wednesday. The viewing starts tomorrow. Ian Whyte, managing director of Whyte’s, was preparing for his Irish art auction at the RDS on Monday evening. Viewing is today, tomorrow and Monday.

Pat King, CEO of the Doyle Collection, who sponsored the launch, gave a mini-lecture on the Doyle group and encouraged guests to look at the art in the hotel. A goodie bag containing Acqua di Parma body lotion was distributed along with the price guide.

Who we spottedAntiques guru Val Dillon; Irish Arts Review’s assistant editor Susan Keating; Donegal photographer Eoghan Brennan; Muirne Lydon, conservator at the National Gallery of Ireland; Olive Braiden; artists Mick O’Dea, Una Sealy and James Hanly – who was on crutches, having fallen a couple of weeks ago while putting out the bins.