Death of the designer who made outfits for President


The death has taken place in Dublin of the award-winning Irish fashion designer Miriam Mone. She was 42.

Best-known for designing the outfits for President McAleese's first inauguration, she also provided much of her daywear and the staff uniforms for Áras an Uachtaráin. Her style mixed the craftsmanship of tailoring with a love of fabric and detail and her collections often had an ethnic look inspired by her travels abroad. She was particularly well-known for beautiful coats.

In a statement, President McAleese said she was "deeply saddened" to learn of her untimely death. "She was a wonderful, talented designer, an inspiration to so many people and a gentle, gracious person."

Born in Armagh, the eldest of three, she grew up on a dairy farm near Loughgall in a house surrounded by apple orchards. Her dressmaking skills were evident right from the start and she had mastered pattern making and sewing machines by the age of eight. Art was her best subject at the Sacred Heart Convent in Armagh, but it was on a school outing to London at the age of 12 that she decided she wanted to be a fashion designer.

She applied to study at Limerick School of Art and Design in l984 where she won what was to be the first of many awards, the Satzenbrau for party wear, followed by the Graduate of the Year award. During a work placement with Brian Tucker in Dublin she met Willy Healy from Sligo and they married in l989. She went on to win the first of four Late Late Show awards including Designer of the Year in l995 enabling her to start her own business.

Over the next 10 years she built up a loyal customer base supplying the Design Centre in Dublin and boutiques all over the country. She once described her clothes as "sensual and elegant. I know how to dress to show off and what to hide which is something male designers don't get right."

On the birth of their first child three years ago, she took a career break, but was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year ago.