Xpose + Benefit Awards

What an amazing whirlwind 24 hour trip to Dublin!

Pascal (my husband) picked me up at the office at 6 pm on Wednesday night and by 10 pm we were airborne and on our way to Dublin.

It all kicked off as soon as we got off the plane. We dropped our bags at The Merrion and went straight out to Harmonia House in Dundrum,  the home of Irish Tatler Man.

There I was presented with My International Man of the Year Award, a spectacular Tipperary Crystal trophy.

CEO and Publisher Ciaran Casey and his team of uber talented editors treated Pascal and I like royalty. Then it was back in to town for a light late lunch at our hotel in front of a blazing fire. The Hotel was all a buzz with Xpose team members as they had a V.I.P. celebrity staying there, that they had flown in for the night. A quick dip in the pool to shake off the jet lag, then 3 hours of hair and make to look presentable (just kidding).

As we freshened up, a huge bottle of Moet Rose Champagne was delivered to our room by Xpose/Benefits to Welcome us to Dublin. We donned our finery for the pink carpet, Pascal looked so handsome and particularly dapper in a pink rose printed shirt and matching tie under his navy blue Hugo Boss suit. I wore a Rick Owens Jacket with white radial stitching over one of my sparkling signature  hand embroidered t-shirts.

RTE’s Mary Kennedy dropped in to wish us good luck and insisted on driving us over to the Mansion House for the big event. As we left the Hotel, we discovered who the VIP was, as photographers had gathered waiting to get shots of none other than Caitlyn Jenner.

We arrived in style, with hugs and kisses from Mary, and made our way through the crowd of Xpose fans and well-wishers that had gathered outside the Mansion House.

The pink carpet was a hive of activity, several TV crews and a blaze of flashes from the dozens of photographers, Pascal and I were greeted with open arms and giant hugs from Debbie O’Donnell, Xpose’s executive producer, thrilled and delighted that we came all the way from New York.

We were interviewed several times as we made our way along the long length of the pink carpet, finally making it to the Moet Champagne reception where we got to meet and catch up with our fellow nominees and now many dear friends in the Irish Fashion world.

Caitlyn Jenner arrived amidst a blaze of flashes. With all the fuss, a bra strap on her backless dress had become visible, so Don to rescue, I quickly introduced myself, told what the issue was and discreetly and quickly repositioned the offending bra strap.  Later on Pascal suggested we should take a picture together, she said of course, thanked me again for fixing her dress and was delighted to learn that this Irish designer had dressed both Khloe and Kendall.

The Round room at The Mansion House was spectacular, bathed in pink light, with fabulous table settings and dramatic staging. The ceremony kicked off with a spectacular “Dancing With the Stars” showcase, followed by the Benefits launch of their new mascara with an incredible light show and astronaut in a pink space suit coming down out of the ceiling, followed by teams of girls delivering smoking boxes of the mascara’s to everyone, I thought it was the appetizer, but thankfully that followed almost immediately.

The awards began, and honestly I wasn’t expecting to win, I was there to celebrate my nomination with my peers and support Xpose who have been so good to me, featuring my ever evolving story over many many years.  I did however have a knot in my stomach.  

Our category was after dinner, and when they announced the 5 shortlisted designers, my name was one of them…. my breath sort of stopped and then they called the winner, “Paul Costelloe “… I was able to breathe again and relax .

The last award of the night was called and we thought  it was over, when they announced two more special awards. All our attentions turned to the stage, Glenda Gilson announced that this was a very special award for someone whose outstanding contribution to Irish Fashion on the global stage was to be recognized, someone who was very proud of their Irish Roots and proudly represented Ireland on the world’s most prestigious Red Carpets… as it dawned on me that this sounded like my story…the TV camera men swooped down on our table…  and Pascal is screaming and yelling, my picture is now on the big screen, the room had erupted in applause .. I made my way to the stage in disbelief, overwhelmed and unprepared and Glenda presented me with their “Industry Innovator Award.”  I tried to gather my thoughts, and thanked Xpose and Benefit, and my husband Pascal, which resulted in Pascal getting a huge cheer which made me so happy to see and hear him being recognized by the crowd. I acknowledged and congratulated my fellow designers and all the creatives in the room  .. its all a bit of a blurr.. and then we were swept off back stage photos and TV interviews.

Between the jet lag,  the excitement of the event and partying with friends, the adrenaline rush of winning this special the award, (practically a Life Time achievement award)  followed by the endless congratulatory hugs and kisses, it was the most extraordinary magical  night.

I thank God for being blessed, and I thank Mom and My Angel Guardian for minding me and guiding me, and of course my Pascal, the light of my life.

We were back at The Merrion at 2 a.m. and on our way to the Airport by 8 a.m.

We flew back to New York with the same flight crew that we came in with Wednesday night, and they were thrilled to hear the good news and celebrated with us on the flight home.

By 3 pm Friday I was back at my desk… Fashion Week is next week…. Wish me luck!


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