HOLLY BYRNES OUT OF THE BOX
STELLA Mccartney, Alexander Mcqueen, Vivienne Westwood, Thelma Madine. If that last name doesn’t ring any British designer bells, you cannot be familiar with the bling-tastic world of the UK gypsy wedding and Madine’s reputation as the queen of ‘‘ traveller’’ couture.
This is one
dressmaker unlikely to find her creations on the pages of British Vogue, but if it’s a gaudy grasp of metres of tulle you’re after, she’s the go-to girl. And in the Irish town of Rathkeale — the spiritual home of the Irish gypsy— Madine is busier than a publican on St Patrick’s Day.
With nine weddings scheduled around Christmas time in the town, it’s bumper-tobumper stretch limos, with frothy brides such as Charlene, suffering under kilos of satin and diamantes, stuffed inside.
The 18-year-old can barely breathe in her bedazzled Madine design, but is more concerned her groom isn’t at the church when she arrives.
He’s in the pub, downing pints of liquid courage. Charlene is more charitable: ‘‘ He’s really shy ... if he wasn’t drunk he wouldn’t go up the altar.’’ Ain’t love grand?
Besides the bridal frenzy, Christmas is also a hot time for holy communions.
These young girls go all out, with tiaras, parasols and, despite the nippy weather, flashing as much fake tannned skin as possible.
Fans of this addictive reality series will also welcome an update from newlyweds Josie and Swanley, who were mar- ried in the first season: nuptials not easily forgotten because of the punch up which ended their reception. Classy, no?
The happy couple are with child and take the cameras along as they discover the sex of their blessed babe. Big Fat Gypsy Christmas Lifestyle You Monday, 8.30pm
Gaudy: Gypsy style