Sabina’s stately sartorial style on display in fashionable visit

For their historic state visit to London, President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina have both shown considerable sartorial flair.

President Higgins’ suits were designed by two Irish tailors, Declan Abrahams in Dublin and Michael Johnson from Tullow.

Johnson, whose family has been in the tailoring industry since 1867, made two tweed suits for the President and an overcoat in a dark grey herringbone, displaying the traditional Irish heritage fabrics for which this country is celebrated.

Far more attention has been paid to Mrs Higgins’ wardrobe.

Renowned theatre and film costume designer Joan Bergin has chosen 14 ensembles to showcase the very best of Irish fashion.

For their arrival at Heathrow, Sabina wore a Helen McAlinden outfit with a jaunty, feathered hat by Nessa Cronin. The wool dress and coat (from McAlinden’s winter collection) fitted Sabina beautifully, but the dark green shade didn’t translate well in some photos.

On Tuesday, Mrs Higgins began the day wearing a blush pink Louise Kennedy dress and a silk coat studded with pearls, a wonderful choice as the beading caught the early morning sunshine perfectly. A fascinator by Philip Treacy and specially designed gloves by Paula Rowan completed the look.

For President Higgins’ address at Westminster Hall, Mrs Higgins wore an off-the-rack outfit from Louise Kennedy’s AW collection, a magenta coat with black beading radiating from the neckline over a matching, cap-sleeved dress in a crepe material.

The Duchess of Cornwall, right, with Sabina Higgins at Windsor Castle.

Another Louise Kennedy piece was chosen for the white-tie banquet at Windsor castle. The ‘Grace’ evening dress, a long-sleeved, floor-length gown in a peacock blue French lace, was hand-embellished with crystals, designed to evoke the beauty of the Connemara landscape.

For her tour of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Mrs Higgins donned an off-the-peg Caractere dress and a cropped jacket in a vibrant royal blue, accessorised with a Nessa Cronin headpiece, Paula Rowan ‘Montserrat’ gloves, and shoes from Anastasia in Ranelagh.

At their appearance at City Hall, Mrs Higgins wore a silk, tweed-collared coat and dress in a blush pink with coral detail, collared coat with darker pink buttons, a hat by Lucy Moore, and Newbridge Silver jewellery. While the Caroline Kilkenny outfit was beautiful, it was a little too similar to the Louise Kennedy ensemble she wore the today before.

For the banquet at Guildhall, Mrs Higgins was dressed in perhaps her most beautiful outfit thus far, a Jill Howard floor-length gown with a Tudor Rose motif picked out in delicate beading. The pearl accessories were 18th century and on loan from John Farrington jewellers, Dublin.

At a sustainable farm in Oxford yesterday, Mrs Higgins wore a burnt-orange dress and coat from Louise Kennedy, a thin floral scarf, and a vintage horseshoe brooch.

Pink has been a popular choice for Mrs Higgins. For the Royal Albert Hall event, she wore an Aideen Bodkin dress in rose-pink lace with a silk jacket in a matching colour.


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