LIMERICK-based fashion designer, Marion Murphy Cooney, has bit back at claims by a leading fashion columnist that the dress she designed for Prime Time presenter Miriam O’Callaghan for the Irish Film and Television Awards was “boring” and “frumpy”.
Marion - who led the way in the style stakes at Saturday night’s glitzy ceremony, dressing five top celebrities – said the soft, teal, lace dress was “age appropriate” for the 53-year-old current affairs presenter.
Her comments came after fashion editor of the Sunday Independent, Constance Harris, gave Miriam’s dress a rating of 4/10.
“Where is the sex appeal of last year?” asked Constance who describing the dress as “boring, safe and frumpy”.
“Constance Harris who totally admired her last year said that she looked a little bit boring this year. Little did she know that it is exactly the same dress only a different colour,” Marion told the Leader this week.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. At the end of the day, Miriam is 53-years-of-age, I’m not putting her into a backless dress. It’s age appropriate,” she continued.
In the same IFTA red carpet review, outspoken designer Paul Costelloe said that while Miriam is a very attractive woman, “the print is killing a very simple dress”.
“Solid colours are better on the red carpet. Print is everywhere but we need to move on now,” he said.
Again, Marion moved to correct the designer.
“First of all, it wasn’t print, it was lace and second of all, it was a colour block. It was one colour, teal, so what were they looking at?,” she asked.
“They completely contradicted themselves,” she pointed out, adding that Miriam was named as best dressed on a television interview the following morning.
According to Marion, the RTE presenter is a delight to work with. “She trusts me completely and she is always very happy. We said we weren’t putting her in red again. Jewel colours are good on her complexion as well,” Marion explained.
The experienced fashion designer who is based at the The Design Atelier on Sarsfield Street in Limerick also dressed local lady, Emma O’Driscoll, who went for a sophisticated black, lace dress with a nude lining and a feather and crystal detail on the shoulder. Republic of Telly star Jennifer Maguire wore a striking red lace design by Marion while Love/Hate actresses Aoibhinn McGinnity, (Nidge’s wife Trish) and Denise McCormack also plumped for the award winning designer who is a former student of Limerick School of Art and Design.
While Marion didn’t get to watch the awards on Saturday night – she was attending her friend’s birthday and her nephew’s 21st - she was “keeping an eye on Twitter to see the images as they came in”.
Another big local success story of the night was The Ivory Closet boutique which dressed three well-known personalities on the night.
Model Madeline Mulqueen – formerly of the Horse Outside video - wowed in a white Rachel Gilbert gown on her first public appearance with her boyfriend Jack Rayner who took home the best actor award.
RTE presenters Lucy Kennedy and Sinead Kennedy also graced the red carpet in dresses from The Ivory Closet in the city.