Peter O’brien says yes to the dress at Dunnes
It’s Thursday morning. So it must be the Gate theatre, where Peter O’brien’s latest collection was unveiled. The new collection possessed all O’brien’s signature, understated glamour, or “quiet drama” as actor Cathy Belton (who interviewed Peter at the Gate) called it. The location is apt. Peter has designed the costumes for many of the Gate’s foremost period dramas (are there any other kind at the Gate?) including A Woman of No Importance, in which Cathy starred. “I played this socialite with an evil tongue and I remember the silk made a noise before I arrived. Me and Peter decided it was part of the character,” the lovely Cathy noted. “As well as me speaking in the play, the dress spoke.”
Peter recalled how his interest in fashion was ignited when, as a child, he saw Joan Crawford in Humoresque — “her story was tragic, she ended up walking into the water. All I could think about was how her beautiful beaded gown was ruined.”
Peter spoke glowingly about the latest woman in his life, Mrs Margaret Heffernan, the magnificent doyenne of Dunnes, who enabled him to produce such a divine collection, using his favourite fabrics and with all his hallmarks, white collars, nipped-in waists, full skirts, fluted sleeves. Someone stop me before I get carried away with all this giddy talk of nipped-in waists, full skirts, fluted sleeves. Peter refused to talk too much about the clothes: “no one wants to hear a grown man talking about fluted sleeves”. (Oh, I don’t know. It never stopped me.) But clearly they do want him to design them. The sense I got was that everyone present was anxious to dash up to Grafton Street to Dunnes Stores to get their hands on their particular favourite coats and dresses. Cathy, however, has a different type of dress in mind. She will be tying the knot next summer in an intimate ceremony in the south of France. No prizes for guessing who is designing the dress.
Designer Peter O’brien and ‘Red Rock’ star Cathy Belton at Dunnes Stores fashion launch