Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year dresses Causeway mayor for big occasion
Causeway Coast and Glens Mayor Maura Hickey looked heavenly yesterday as she greeted the Queen in a stunning silk coat specially made for the Royal visit to the north coast.
The coat, which featured a pair of angel's wings printed on silk, was designed by local stylist Sara O'Neill - the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year for Fashion, Hair and Beauty.
Sara even borrowed a tip from the Queen, who reputedly has coins sewn into the hems of dresses to stop them billowing up in windy weather.
Sara said it had been a sprint to get the fabulous printed silk coat finished in time for the Royal visit.
"Maura's a family friend, I've known her for years," she said.
"She came to my recent exhibition in the Arcadia, and said she had a special event that she needed something special for.
"It was only later I found out exactly how special the special event was."
The print chosen for the coat is called Lost Souls and is inspired by a Victorian shipwreck on White Rocks beach, near Portrush, according to Sara.
"Maura's a very petite, dainty woman - so I wanted to do something that would suit her, and was representative of the north coast," she said.
"I only started making the coat last week. I was round at Maura's house for a couple of fittings and we just got the coat finished up in time before I had to rush to Dublin to deliver my latest collection to Brown Thomas in Dublin on Monday."
"It was a race against time. Silk is not an easy fabric to work with - and because we are in a gusty part of the world I actually had to sew some 5p coins in to the hem of the coat to ensure it wouldn't fly away too much. It's great that the mayor of the area to chose to support local design," the award-winning stylist added.
Maura, who earlier this month became the first nationalist mayor of the area, said the striking coat had made quite an impact.
"Sara's coat made a great impression," she added. "It was well thought of by everyone. It was amazing how many people noticed it. The event went wonderfully. The Queen and the Duke were in fabulous form. The Queen was relaxed, very humorous, and very witty."
Sara's new collection - called Eadach (Irish for 'fabric') - launches in Brown Thomas, Dublin, next Tuesday.