Limerick Rose set to bite the Big Apple

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

SHE never got to taste the atmosphere on stage at the dome in Tralee this week but for Limerick Rose, Orlaith Carroll, there is always the Big Apple.

SHE never got to taste the atmosphere on stage at the dome in Tralee this week but for Limerick Rose, Orlaith Carroll, there is always the Big Apple.

The Caherdavin designer - who has worked for the famous fashion house, McQueen, is to move to New York next month to pursue a fashion career.

Much to the disappointment of the people of Limerick, Orlaith was not selected to go forward to the festival in Tralee at the regional finals in June.

The graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design wowed the audience in Portlaoise with her rendition of Adele’s ‘To make you feel my love’, and she won the admiration of host Daithi O’Se when she spoke about her love of Limerick.

Organisers of the Limerick Rose competition said upon her selection, that she had something of a ‘Maureen O’Hara factor’.

However, to the amazement of many, she didn’t make it through to the final.

Not one to dwell on the past, Orlaith has her sights firmly set on the future and the bright lights of Manhattan. She will fly out to the States on September 15 for 12 months.

“There is a few from my class over there already and my sister Giolla just moved there. There seems to be a lot of opportunity there – I was there last summer for three months as well so I want to get an apprenticeship,” she explained.

“I want to do pattern- making. The designer comes to me to try and make the outfit that they design, to 3D, from the drawing,” she added.

At the tender age of 24 years, Orlaith has already gained experience in the fashion world that many designers can only dream of.

Three years ago, she enjoyed a six-month internship at the world-famous fashion house of Alexander McQueen which designed the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton’s wedding dress.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience. He (Alexander) was still alive at the time so I got to see him work as well – it was phenomenal. He seemed nice – he was an absolute genius in terms of fashion. It was amazing to watch him work. I was lucky enough to be helping out in the design studio a lot,” said Orlaith.

The fashion world was plunged into mourning in February, 2010, when news broke that the 40-year-old designer was found dead in his London home. In May of that year, Sarah Burton was named the new creative director of Alexander McQueen. Sarah was chosen by Kate Middleton to design her wedding gown.

“It was lovely to see Sarah Burton being recognised as the head designer. It was really great,” said Orlaith.

“She was head designer when I was there so she was my boss, boss. She was so professional and driven and just wanted everything done, done, done. She got an awful lot of the workload and had to make sure that everything was running smoothly,” she continued.

And by the sounds of it, the interns too were given a fairly hefty workload to prepare them for the real world of high-end fashion.

“You have good fun because you are there for long hours and you are altogether, but the workload is huge – you are working 12 hours days. It was very intense,” said Orlaith.

So were there any Royals passing in or out while Orlaith was there?

“No,” she smiled, “that was long before that (the Royal wedding).”

And while Orlaith may not have taken to the stage at the Dome in Tralee this week, she did take her seat in the audience both nights and played her own part in the festival by designing items for some of the roses.

“I designed a dress for the Chicago Rose for a press launch they had in RTE and I made a little white jacket for the Boston Rose,” she revealed.

“When I was in Portlaoise I made all my garments – they all loved them and I posted on Facebook if anyone needed anything that they couldn’t find, that I would make it for them,” she added.

Orlaith also designed her own outfits for the regional finals in Portlaoise.

And finally, if she was given the opportunity to work for just one designer in the world, who would it be?

“Working with McQueen was one of the main things but I would be a lot simpler in my own designing – I absolutely adore Fendi, always have. I would love to work for them,” she said.