LIMERICK has been given the fashion seal of approval from some of the country’s most glamorous ladies.
Despite the huge array of boutiques in Dublin, high profile presenters and actresses including Miriam O’Callaghan, Maura Derrane, Denise McCormack and Jackie Lavin chose Limerick-based designer Marion Murphy Cooney and local store The Ivory Closet to dress them for the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) - Ireland’s equivalent of the Oscars.
“There was a photo shoot for the RTE Guide last week and I was dressing Denise McCormack in it. Miriam (O’Callaghan) happened to be the other person that was being photographed for the front cover and she just fell in love with the dresses. That was it,” said Marion Murphy Cooney of how the Prime Time presenter happened upon her designs.
“She followed me on Twitter first, she tweeted me and then she rang me,” she added.
The one dress which really grabbed Miriam’s attention was a blood red, soft lace dress with a plunging neckline and a fishtail kick out. “She said that she tried it on and it fitted perfectly. I was thrilled to bits – to have someone like Miriam O’Callaghan wear one of your dresses, I mean she is some woman,” added Marion who watched the awards ceremony from her sofa in Nenagh.
And she didn’t have long to wait to see one her creations on stage – Love/Hate actress Denise McCormack was one of the first to receive an award – that of best supporting actress – for her portrayal of tragic gangland wife Linda in the hit RTE crime series.
Denise wore a midnight blue lace dress. “She is eight months pregnant so it was a challenge for me - I am not trained in maternity wear or anything like that,” Marion pointed out.
“She came down for her first fitting only the week before the IFTAs and she was delighted with it. I did the final finishings on it and posted it to her and she just text me saying it was spot on. She looked gorgeous.”
Marion also dressed Maura Derrane, who has worn her creations on several occasions. ”Maura is gas,” Marion laughed, – two days before the event she will say ‘Mar I need a dress, send one up to me’. She is the perfect size 10. I happened to have that dress up at the photo shoot for the RTE Guide so she just went into the studio and tried it on and lo and behold it fitted her perfectly.”
Marion opened her new store on Catherine Street in the city – the Design Atelier - with milliner Aisling Maher just over a week ago. And she is pleased to report that it’s a case of “so far so good”. “I can’t complain. It’s just a matter of getting the word out there now,” she said.
“It would be the same as boutique prices if not cheaper so don’t be afraid to come in and have a look. The ready-made dresses that would be off the peg would be at reasonable prices and they would be one-off as well. So they are getting the best of both worlds there and they are supporting Irish,” she explained.
Meanwhile, on Shannon Street the Cahill sisters Sheila, Niamh and Aine are still on a high after seeing their dresses adorn high profile ladies on the red carpet.
Jackie Lavin of The Apprentice wore a pale peach embellished evening gown by Australian designer Rachel Gilbert which she hired from The Ivory Closet.
She became aware of the city boutique through a mutual acquaintance.
“She actually couldn’t get down to Limerick as she was away a week before the IFTAs with Bill (Cullen) so I sent her up a selection of dresses and she told me the one she wanted. It fitted her perfectly,” Sheila explained.
Another lady to wear a creation from the shop was Andrea Breslin who was joined on the red carpet by her brother, singer and mentor on The Voice, Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin.
“It’s amazing for Limerick. It shows that the word is spreading throughout Ireland and it’s a great achievement for us. Marion has absolutely stunning pieces and she always delivers as well,” Sheila added.