Last-minute design lands Heidi €10,000 prize

FASHION designer Heidi Higgins certainly proved a good advertisement for her own work.

The 24-year-old Portlaoise woman yesterday won the Arnotts Best Dressed Lady competition at Punchestown with one of her own creations.

The former student of leading designer, Louise Kennedy, expressed shock at her victory as it was the first time she had ever attended Ladies Day at any race meeting.

“I’m gobsmacked that I won as it was all very last minute,” beamed the young designer who only opened her first boutique in her hometown six weeks ago.

Heidi picked up a €10,000 Arnotts voucher as well as an evening in a suite at Punchestown as her prize for being overall winner of the competition which was spread out over the first four days of the meeting.

Her turquoise blue wool dress and jacket with a polka dot trim were made with material sourced at fashion fairs in Paris. “The dress forms part of my spring/summer collection. So yes people will be able to buy it from me,” laughed Heidi.

Her matching shoes and handbag came from L K Bennett while her headpiece was by Galway-based designer, Mark T Burke.

“I sent him an image of the dress and I’m thrilled with it especially as it arrived just yesterday,” explained Heidi.

The former student of the National College of Art and Design confessed that her accessories were “robbed” from her sister.

Second prize went to local lady, Lisa Ward from Donadea, Co Kildare who won the Best Dressed Lady title at Punchestown last year.

The 24-year-old home economics teacher showed a flair for bargains as her entire outfit cost just €100 including a €20 purple dress from Tesco and shoes from Dunnes Stores.

One of the judges, model and wife of former soccer international Niall Quinn, Gillian Quinn said it had been difficult to select a winner from hundreds of stylish attendees.

“We were looking for lots of colour with really clear, classy lines — something fresh and spring-like,” said Gillian.

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