Why our cool capital is now in fashion

To mark Dublin Fashion Festival, five resident movers and shakers tell Deirdre Reynolds what gives the city its edge.

Why our cool capital is now in fashion

NEW YORK, Paris, London and now Dublin? Following the trend set by some of the coolest cities on earth, Dublin Fashion Festival Kicks off here later this week.

And with street fashion shows, pose-offs and fabulous cocktails, the capital looks set to be transformed into one big catwalk for the three-day event.

Launching the third annual celebration of style, DFF host Amanda Byram said: “No matter where I travel, Dublin town is still one of my favourite places to shop, not only because of the variety of shops, but also the great bars and cafés you can nip into for a mid-shop pit stop.”

But can the Big Smoke really hold its own alongside the Big Apple when it comes to style in the city?

In a city of 1.2 million people, five of its most fashionable residents reveal what they think gives Dublin the edge.

Louise Duffy (28) Today FM DJ, Dublin 2

Best thing about Dublin: As capital cities go, Dublin is small but perfectly formed. It’s got everything you need — shops, restaurants, bars and gigs.

And the worst: As I’m originally from Mayo, the country girl in me sometimes feels a little cooped up in the capital — so I try to escape to the wild West at weekends. Childhood memory: My first trip to Dublin sans parents as a teenager. I smashed open the piggy bank, got the bus with my friends and went wild in Miss Selfridge!

Best restaurant: I go to Neon on Camden Street about twice a week for their spicy Mekong Duck. But the best bit is the free ice-cream cone afterwards.

Best bar: Anseo on Camden Street is dark, dusty and cramped — but the atmosphere is always electric. Best for fashion: BT2 in Dundrum Town Centre stocks two of my favourite French brands Maje and Sandro.

Favourite spot/thing to do: Apartment living means that I’ve had to find a garden elsewhere. I prefer the Iveagh Gardens to St Stephen’s Green because its quieter.

Beyond The Pale: NYC. I have lots of family and friends living there, so it’s always my first choice for a holiday.

Sinead Kennedy (28) RTÉ Presenter, Dublin 18

Best thing about Dublin: Whether it’s catching a show at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, a comedy gig in Vicar Street or live music in Whelan’s, there’s always something to do in Dublin.

And the worst: The cost of everything from rent to food means you have less spare cash to spend on doing any of the above! Childhood memory: Both of my parents are from Tipperary and we grew up in Cork, so it wasn’t until I started working for RTE that I really got to know Dublin. Now I’m busy making new memories!

Best restaurant: Well, it all depends on my mood: I love Diwali on George’s Street for Indian, Acapulco (also on George’s Street) for Mexican, or Lemon on South William Street if it’s pancakes I’m craving!

Best bar: I’m a big fan of “old man pubs”, such as Grogans on South William Street where my tipple of choice is a Jameson and ginger ale. As a country girl, it will come as no surprise that Copper Face Jacks is my favourite nightclub!

Best for fashion: Whenever I go to AllSaints in the Powerscourt Centre, I always spend way more than I should.

Favourite spot/thing to do: There’s nothing nicer than a walk along Dun Laoghaire pier followed by an ice-cream at Teddy’s. Beyond the Pale: I’d happily live out the rest of my days in Rio de Janeiro.

Darren Kennedy (31) Presenter and Stylist, Dublin 8

Best thing about Dublin: I’ve travelled the world and lived in some amazing cities — but nowhere beats Dublin for the banter.

And the worst: Junkies — there are a lot of them in certain parts.

Childhood memory: When I was kid, I used to stay with my granny in the city every Friday night. We’d go to bingo on Westland Row and stop off for a bag of chips on the way home. Now, every time I pass the bingo hall, it brings me right back to those cherished evenings with my nan.

Best restaurant: Saba, on Clarendon Street, is hands-down the best Thai food in Dublin. If I can’t be found on a Friday night, there’s a good chance I’m in there propping up the cocktail bar.

Best bar: Against the Grain, on Wexford Street — it’s a no-fuss bar with an impressive selection of beer and nice, mixed crowd.

Best for fashion: I love browsing for vintage bow ties in Harlequin, Castle Market.

Favourite spot/thing to do: In the snow, the Phoenix Park transforms into the ‘Irish Alps’ — it’s great fun with a sleigh.

Beyond The Pale: I fell in love with Biarritz when I was at the University of Bordeaux.

Glenda Gilson (31) Xposé Presenter, Dublin 15

Best thing about Dublin: Both of my parents are Dubs, and I know every back street in the city as a result of driving around with them as a child.

And the worst: The weather — it kills me. When the sun is shining though, Dublin is the best city in the world.

Childhood memory: Every Christmas my mom and dad would take me and my brother Damien to see the Switzers window on Grafton Street. We’d make a day of it with Christmas shopping, a movie at the Savoy and dinner at Kingsland Chinese restaurant afterwards.

Best restaurant: I love everything on the menu at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse and Grill on Dawson Street — especially the asparagus with hollandaise sauce.

Best bar: For drinks, 37 Dawson Street. For dancing, it has to be Lillie’s Bordello on Grafton Street.

Best for fashion: I get all my red carpet dresses from Lara Boutique on Dame Lane. I’m obsessed with skull print at the moment — and Lara also has the coolest skull t-shirts in town.

Favourite spot/thing to do: Living in Castleknock, the Phoenix Park is right on my doorstep. I love walking my dogs the entire length of the park from gate to gate.

Beyond the Pale: I love Cork — the city, Kinsale, wherever! Cork women are probably the most stylish in Ireland too.

Davina Devine (29) Drag queen, Dublin 2

Best thing about Dublin: The people — Dubs have the best sense of humour.

And the worst: Moaning taxi drivers. They moan about everything: the weather, traffic, money. Give over, already!

Childhood memory: Performing with Michael Jackson when I was nine as one of the ‘Heal the World’ kids during his Dangerous tour at Lansdowne Road in 1992. I could see my house from the stage!

Best restaurant: Yamamori Noodles on South Great George’s Street because the food, atmosphere and staff are always superb.

Best bar: Call me biased, but my home away from home is The George. After 25 years, it’s still the gay epicentre of Dublin — if those walls could talk!

Best for fashion: Fun Place on South King Street is one of my favourite shops in the city. They have tonnes of wigs, costumes and makeup — everything a modern Irish showgirl needs to look gorgeous!

Favourite spot/thing to do: On a sunny day, I love cruising around the city in a convertible with the top down and pop music blaring, having a chuckle with my pals.

Beyond the Pale: Toronto is my second favourite place on the planet. I lived there briefly in 2004.

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