IN an age when scantily clad popstars are the new fashion icons, two Limerick ladies have proven that nothing beats elegance, style and sophistication!
Inspired by the classic fashion icons Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O, make-up artist Rachelle Guiry and milliner Aisling Maher stole the show at the Galway Races earning a unique double for Limerick in the style stakes.
Dressed in a powder blue ensemble, Rachelle from Knockaderry was named the winner of the Anthony Ryan’s Best Dressed Lady award while Aisling from Castleconnell won the Wear Irish award for her eye catching creation.
“What I think caught the judges’ eye was my collar and the fact that I designed it myself and I designed the hat to go with it,” explained Aisling whose decision to attend the Galway Races “was a complete last minute thing”.
While some fashionistas had been working on creating the perfect outfit for the famous festival for several months, it was Tuesday - two days before the Ladies Day - when Aisling’s preparations began.
“I finished the collar on Tuesday and I made the hat on Wednesday evening. I was working late on Wednesday night. I was sewing until about half past 10,” she explained.
Her efforts paid off when she was named the winner of the Wear Irish award which was introduced this year for the lady with the most appropriate choice of Irish design or accessories in her ensemble. “I was over the moon to be honest. I didn’t expect at all to be picked out or anything, it was a complete shock but absolutely fantastic,” said Aisling whose entire outfit was sourced in Adare where she runs her own boutique. “The weather was a battle,” she admitted. “I got soaked to the skin on the way in but we are Irish, we are used to the weather and the rain - you just have to get over it and embrace it,” smiled the brunette beauty who won a €500 shopping spree in Anthony Ryan’s department store.
Just like Aisling, Rachelle Guiry was determined not to let the weather rain on her parade.
“You have your brolly and you just have to say to yourself ‘it’s a summer race’ - you have to dress summery,” said Rachelle who wowed in her 1950s inspired Ted Baker lacey dress which she sourced online.
The minute she clapped eyes on the dress which featured a pretty Peter Pan collar, she knew it was the one for Ladies Day. “I thought it would be a real classic piece for Galway. I had been before but I never entered Ladies Day,” explained the Newcastle West-based make-up artist who won €12,000 worth of prizes. “I thought the style this year was so beautiful. It was fabulous to be there and take it all in,” she added.
Her entire outfit - complete with pearl earrings from Marks & Spencer, a vintage watch, shoes from Greenes of Limerick and hat by Carol Kennelly - she estimates cost between €600 and €700.
She even did her own make-up and hair on the day.
Rachelle left the Ballybrit racecourse with a magnificent prize of a one carat diamond solitaire pendant valued at €8,500, a shopping spree worth €1500 in Anthony Ryan’s, Galway, and €1000 cash. She also received a Lancôme presentation gift hamper worth over €600 and a corporate hospitality package for Galway Races October Bank Holiday Racing Festival. Her boyfriend, Mark O’Connell from Glenroe, was thrilled for her.
A qualified art teacher, Rachelle met sports fanatic Mark when they were both teaching in Scoil Pol secondary school in Kilfinane.
“He was delighted for me,” she smiled.
And her fellow Limerick winner, Aisling Maher was also chuffed for Rachelle. “I thought she was so elegant, she just oozed elegance,” said Aisling.