When it comes to racing style tips, Rachelle Guiry is reassuringly down-to-earth.
“Bring a brolly,” laughs the professional make-up artist from Knockaderry, Co Limerick, who clinched the prestigious best-dressed title at the Galway Races last year with her Grace Kelly-inspired ensemble.
Irish Country Living is meeting with Rachelle and Aisling Maher, the milliner and boutique owner who won the “Wear Irish” style award at Galway last year, for a sneak peek inside their wardrobes as the racing calendar gallops towards the most highly-anticipated style event of the season.
Rachelle runs a make-up bar in Newcastlewest, as well as offering a freelance service for brides, photo shoots and other clients.
Meanwhile, Aisling graduated as an architect just as the bubble burst. However, this prompted her to launch her first millinery collection in 2010, with Catherine Zeta Jones among her first customers.
“It was here in the boutique at Adare Manor,” says Aisling. “I popped out for five minutes and she came when I was gone. I was gutted. But she wore it to the gala event of the JP McManus Pro-Am and that just catapulted my business.”
Indeed, as well as supplying 20 boutiques nationwide, not to mention the UK and US, Aisling opened her own boutique in Adare last year. Having dressed many women for Galway, Aisling believes attention to detail is key.
“You have to think from head to toe, right down to your nail colour,” she says, adding that hems tend to be longer and more ladylike at Galway.
Make-up wise, Rachelle agrees that less is more.
“Nothing is too over done,” she says, recommending Dior Show mascara, NARS orgasm blusher and MAC mineralise moisture foundation as her handbag essentials, and Vita Liberata tan for a natural-looking glow.
Is there a lot of pressure returning to Galway this year?
“I’m just going to enjoy it,” says Rachelle, and while her choice of outfit for this year is “top secret”, it will be in keeping with her love of ’50s style.
However, she has no problem divulging her tip for staying stylish – and pain free – in heels.
“Nurofen gel,” she says. “Any event where you are on your feet, it’s just amazing.”
Note: As photo shoot items are models’ own, prices are provided where available or where items are currently in stock.
“It is one of the most coveted style awards nationally, so I felt so honoured to have won,” says Rachelle of clinching the best-dressed title at Galway in 2013.
“It was a wonderful platform for my business. When I meet my make-up clients now, they love chatting about my Galway outfit and winning vintage style.”
Dress: Ted Baker, SS’13 collection
Hat: Carol Kennelly pillbox hat €295
Bag: Vintage clutch from Etsy, approx €40
Shoes: Greenes, Limerick, SS’13 collection
Aisling dipped into the autumn/winter collection at her boutique to put together a stunning ensemble for this year’s Dublin Horse show.
“The dress is a beautiful peacock colour with purple, which I think is really electric,” she says of her Nissa dress, which she has complimented with a wide-brimmed hat, trimmed with purple lace, peacock feathers and crystal detailing.
Hat: Aisling Maher €350
Collar: Aisling Maher collar €150
Dress: Nissa from Aisling Maher boutique €349
Shoes: Serendipity, Adare €120
Gloves: Joli, Adare €20
“For the hat, I wanted something a little bit Marilyn Monroe,” says Rachelle of her Carol Kennelly-designed piece, which wowed the judges at the Darley Irish Oaks day at the Curragh last Saturday, where she won the best-dressed award. “I knew the dress would work with it because of the delicate spider web lace, but just to make the lace ‘pop’ I applied a deeper pink lace underneath with a scalloped edge, put a lace underlay under the skirt and tied the bow to the front.”
Dress: Elise Ryan from ASOS €67.70
Hat: Carol Kennelly €450
Bag: Lulu Guinness clutch, styles from £245 (€308) online
Shoes: Ted Baker approx €150
“I only finished this last night,” laughs Aisling of her pillbox-style hat embellished with gold lace, pheasant feathers, quills, pearls and crystal detailing, which she plans to wear for the Galway Races. Aisling also designed her collar to pick up on the gold and coffee tones of the Carla Ruiz dress with fitted bodice and full brocade skirt.
Hat: Aisling Maher €295
Collar: Aisling Maher €150
Dress: Carla Ruiz from Aisling Maher boutique €319
Bag: Butterfly satin clutch from Aisling Maher boutique €54
Shoes: Menbur heels, Serendipity, Adare €130
Gloves: Vintage gloves from the Milk Market, Limerick
While Rachelle wore this citrus Nissa dress to Leopardstown earlier this year, her Aisling Maher pillbox in lemon satin gives it a new lease of life for the summer season. And as for her elegant dress bag? “That was a real find for just €2 in a charity shop in Newcastlewest,” she smiles.
Dress Nissa from Platform, Newcastlecast, SS’13 collection
Hat: Pillbox hat by Aisling Maher €245
Bag: Dress bag €2
Shoes: New Look approx €24.99
Aisling’s architectural background gets the nod with this edgy hat designed to compliment her Bastyan dress bought on sale at Brown Thomas.
“I love doing the girly look with full skirts, but sometimes it’s really nice to do a straight pencil dress because that allows you to show off the hat,” she says.
Hat: Aisling Maher €280
Collar: Aisling Maher €150
Dress: Bastyan from Brown Thomas, bought on sale €160
Shoes: Prada, gift
Bag: Diane Von Furstenberg clutch €160
Originally published in Irish Living section of the Irish Farmers Journal July 2014