Irish designer to wow Oscars

Coming from Maynooth, the home of Ireland’s clerical elite, Laura Jayne Halton would have seen a fair few frocks in her youth — mostly worn by male clerics.

This time round, she is delighted to go all girly and design a dress for the Oscars, to be worn by Academy Awards nominee Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, 26, from Cromane in west Kerry.

“I am absolutely ecstatic,” says Laura Jayne, who was tipped as one to watch at the Ferry Fashion Awards last year.

“She [Fodhla] has a fabulous feminine figure, with an hour-glass shape.”

Producer Fodhla shares the nomination for the short film Head Over Heels with its director, New York-based Tim Reckart, who was her classmate at the National School of Film and Television in England where it was made as a project.

“We’re over the moon,” Fodhla says. “It’s amazing. It hasn’t really sunk in.”

Laura Jayne feels the same but isn’t about to spill the beans on what outfit she is designing for Fodhla, explaining only the difference between a frock, a dress, and a skirt.

“A frock is a gown. A skirt can be a gown or not, and a skirt — well, if you have to ask...”

Whether the outfit will be one or the other — or a combination of all three — Laura Jayne is determined it will have the wow factor, as Fodhla glides along the famous red carpet of the Oscars.

She hints it will be inspired by the design of classic cars, something for which her father Laurence has a passion. “He just loves his Ford Escort Mark II,” says Laura Jayne. “We also have two classic VW Beatles and a Triumph Spitfire.”

Perhaps she can draw inspiration from her subject’s name, Fodhla, one of the ancient names for Ireland and also seen as the daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, one of the goddesses of Ireland.

Nominated for Best Animated Short, the 10-minute Head Over Heels tells of a husband and wife who have grown apart in bizarre fashion — he lives on the floor and she on the ceiling of their home. The production premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year.


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