Grand Designs

Post by CM

“State” and “Visit” are the words on everyone’s lips and the hashtag of choice this weather. And it’s not down to the debut of Bonny Prince Georgey’s public engagements in New Zealand (that’s merely a Royal Tour), but the much lauded historic visit to England of our own favourite poet-President Michael D Higgins, accompanied by his lovely wife Sabina.

When Queen Elizabeth II came to Ireland back in 2011 all eyes were on the nuances of her chosen outfits, from her nods to various shades of green and the lovely subtle shamrock detail on her State Dinner gown, and eyes are as always on Kate in The Antipodes, expected to vary her ensembles of great British designers like her go-tos Jenny Packham and Alexander McQueen. But a huge hand must be given to Sabina Coyne (a former actress and native of Co. Galway) for her super State Visit wardrobe, consisting of pieces by Irish designers, kicking off with a suitable and stylish green wool dress and coat by Helen McAlinden.

Photo by Colin Keegan
Photo by Colin Keegan

For the first banquet, hosted in Windsor Castle, Sabina looked seriously stunning in her Louise Kennedy full-length gown. She had already donned Louise Kennedy earlier on in the day along with a head piece by (who else but) Philip Treacey and neat little gloves by Paula Rowan. Her wardrobe is being advised by Joan Bergin, an Emmy Award-winning costume designer, and together they’re really pulling it out of the bag.

Don't they scrub up well?
Don’t they scrub up well?
Photo by Peter McDiarmuid
Photo by Peter McDiarmuid

Try as I might I couldn’t find the designer of Sabina’s beautiful 20s style gown worn to the Guildhall Banquet, but again she got it perfectly right, looking as elegant and at ease as can be. As did our darling Prez, which obviously goes without saying!

* If anyone can tell me, please leave a comment below!

At the Guildhall Banquet
At the Guildhall Banquet

Earlier on in the day she attended a luncheon in the Irish Embassy for Irish people in fashion and design, attendees including the aforementioned Louise Kennedy, Orla Kiely, JW Anderson, Paul Costello, Simone Rocha and Co. Galway town Tuam’s very own Joanne Hynes.

For this occasion Sabina wore a Royal Blue (nice touch!) suit by Charactere and hat by Nessa Cronin.

Photo by Malcolm McNally
Photo by Malcolm McNally

L-R: Greta Mulhall (wife of the Irish Ambassador and event host), Louise Kennedy, Sabina Coyne, Paul Costello, Mellisa Curry

I loved that this event was organised. As was demonstrated by the First Lady throughout the visit, Irish designers are not in short supply, and are hugely prolific on the London Scene. Four Irish Central Saint Martins fashion students were also in attendance, heralding the arrival of the next generation of Irish creatives.

The State Visit has been such a success, and will come to an end tomorrow. President Higgins has represented the Irish people wonderfully, and his wife has been a remarkable ambassador for Irish style. Once they get home to the Árus they will truly deserve their cups of Barry’s and a well deserved pat on their well-turned out backs.

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