Wearing my beautiful NewBridge Silverware prize, bouquet & new sash
With former Kilkenny Roses
Signing my first ever autograph for a Rose Bud
The Rose 'Selfie'
There's 'Oscar Moments' and there's 'Rose of Tralee Moments'. Little did I think on the 1st of February last when I turned up unaccompanied to the very first Kilkenny Rose meeting did I think I would be writing this blog post today. Those of you who have been following me will recognise my style of blogging; my ethos is to emphasise positive from negative and poke plenty of fun at myself in between, but this takes the biscuit for fairytale (hey and I get fairytale, hence the blog name!). And while last week was a whirlwind spent mainly entertaining press and buying too many Kilkenny People newspapers that I should ever admit to, I finally have the chance and reflect and fill you in about the night itself.
As far back as January I was contacted by an Irish designer who was proposing we work together on a project with her new formal wear collection. And while the timing did not suit back then I kept her in my thoughts until we finally got to meet at Kerry Fashion Week in March. Her name was Valerie O'Shea and after recognising the name from previous fashion weeks, I checked out her Facebook to view her latest collection. One dress stood out from the others, a beautiful pale pink gown with a train to the back and a sheer cape covered over a sweetheart bodice with handpainted gold flowers. I came close to knowing the feeling a bride gets when they find their dress. It was 'the one'.
Valerie, like many other young Irish designers trying to break into a very competitive fashion market does what likened new designers do, and that is lead a 'double life'. She has her day job and then she has her design brand and business and spends evenings and weekends drawing up new sketching, sourcing fabric, pattern cutting and sowing. A lifestyle not so different from my Occupational Therapist / blogger mix.
So I arranged to travel to her studio to meet her for a fitting of this near perfect specimen of a dress I loved. And the bad news was ...? It wouldn't fit. I've been big-busted since my teens and I've been known to force a zip or two and my sister being a whizz at heaving that zipper up but alas the model sample size was no match for my decolletage. Distraught I left without 'the' dress and we began planning option B instead. I spend most of that week obsessing over the pale frock that was not to be before Valerie did what no other designer would do in Ireland. Let's say she 'made it fit'. Scissors were whipped out and seams were cut and for my shame and joy it worked.
After steaming the dress the day before the Rose final with a hairdryer (top tip) I made my way down to the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel with it draped across my lap in a taxi on Sunday last. After interviews, rehearsals and lunch we all got ready and headed to the function for the night ahead. Valerie travelled especially to support me on the night and I would like to say a huge thank you to her for providing me with a dress in hindsight that I am so proud to have worn in photographs which I will have for the rest of my life to remember the whole occasion.
After being selected as Kilkenny Rose, Valerie has so kindly offered to make my evening gown for my night on stage for the regional festival in Port Laoise on June Bank Holiday Weekend. And the big news is we will CO-DESIGN it together! This is something I have wanted to get involved with now for a long time with a fashion designer and I will be so honoured to wear something both myself and Valerie will have produced for the festival together.
I am so excited and am busy already sourcing inspiration to build my dream dress from.Thank you to everyone involved in the Kilkenny Rose centre for producing such a wonderful event and being so supportive and to my fellow Roses on the night, this post is dedicated to you and our new friendships. Thank you all again. And of course to photographer Pat Moore for allowing me to use his photos in this post. I'd be lost without the paparazzi!
Be sure to check back tomorrow as I share my next Rose outfit post and story!
Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx