Will top designer dress London Rose?

The London Rose is excited about being dressed by Costelloe

Shelley Marsden

LONDON Rose Grace Kenny is hoping that following a chance encounter with Paul Costelloe at London’s Irish Embassy, the Irish designer may provide her clothes for the Tralee contest.

Dublin-born Costelloe, whose fashion house is based in London, has been in British and Irish fashion for the past 30 years, and his classic collections are a regular fixture at London Fashion Week.

Grace told the Irish World: “I was at an event recently marking the departure of the current Irish ambassador Bobby McDonagh, and Paul must have noticed my London Rose sash. He stopped me as I was crossing the room, introduced himself and asked, ‘Who’s dressing you for the Rose of Tralee?’ I said nobody, yet.  It’s hard to get sponsorship, as a lot of the Irish girls competing get sponsored by boutiques in Ireland. So he asked my size, said he might have a few things I could wear, gave me his card and asked me to get in touch.”

Politics student Kenny, 21, said she has called Mr Costelloe’s office and is waiting excitedly to see if he gets back to her. She said: “I’d love him to dress me for Tralee, it would be completely mind-blowing. The whole competition is about elegance and sophistication which I think marries perfectly with what his clothes are all about.”

“My ideal would be if Paul offered to dress me in a long, pastel-coloured gown for the competition. I’m very much into soft, floaty materials and, as the weather is going to be warm over in Ireland (we hope) it’ll also be the most comfortable outfit to wear. I’ve seen Paul’s collection this year and it’s very soft and feminine, so it would be the perfect collaboration.”

Soeaking from his London fashion house Costelloe told us: “If she is in the London area, I would invite her to drop by to my office near Marble Arch and we can see what might work for her. I wouldn’t have time to get something especially for her and I can’t promise anything, as I told her, but we’ll see what we can do with what I have!”

The designer, who helped dress London Roses Belinda Brown (2008) and Clare Kambamettu (2010) added: “I don’t do long evening gowns, which I imagine is what Grace will be needing! What I could offer, however, would be more along the lines of day-to-evening wear.”

Grace, whose first taste of fame  was with Irish dance troupe the Celtic Colleens, who reached the semi-finals of TV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2011, is making her final preparations before  the Rose of Tralee International Festival, which runs from 14-20 August.

The winner of the world-famous festival, which dates back to 1959, is the woman deemed to be most “lovely and fair”, and is selected based on her personality and on being a good role model for Irish traditions on her travels around the world.


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