'I could not top this, ever': Two Irish designers to have dresses on Oscars red carpet

'I could not top this, ever': Two Irish designers to have dresses on Oscars red carpet

Two award-winning Irish fashion designers will have their dresses on the red carpet at the Academy Awards later this month.

Dublin couturier Helen Cody is known for her ethereal and romantic signature look on the catwalks. She has dressed some of Ireland's biggest names including Mary McAleese in the 1997 presidential election, Ali Hewson and actress Amy Huberman, and the delicate pale pink, feathered couture dress she made for Ballon d'Or finalist Stephanie Roche in 2014 made headlines (pictured below).

And now the 52-year-old is dressing producer Nuria Blanco for the Oscars red carpet. Blanco's animated film Late Afternoon (by Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon) has been shortlisted for best short film award.

She will wear a lavishly embellished smoky grey and lavender silk taffeta creation which took more than 300 hours to complete, and which was made originally for the Crafts Council of Ireland Portfolio.

Helen Cody
Helen Cody

Ms Cody said: “Nuria fell in love with a dress I said I would never sell and only allow to be worn to such an important event and (on) a nominee.

“(She) knew about my work and emailed me. When she came to my studio and tried it on, I realised I could not top this, ever. It is a master dress and it brings me joy to see someone so exquisite representing an Irish brand on the red carpet.”

The designer and Irish fashion favourite was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer a year ago and has undergone months of crippling chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She is now in remission and spoke recently of her experience on the Late Late Show.

Meanwhile, Galway born Alison Conneely is making a gown for the same film’s Louise Bagnall who is the writer and director of Cartoon Saloon.

Ms Conneely added: “The most important thing for the Oscars - when the world’s eyes are upon you - is that you want the wearer to be comfortable and relaxed and not worry about the dress. A director is not a glamour model and there is a different form of artistic expression to an A-list celebrity.”

It is nine years since an Irish-based designer has had a creations adorn the Oscars red carpet. The Oscars will be on February 25 in Los Angeles.

Alison Conneely
Alison Conneely

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