Her's Best Dressed winner, Pamela Uba, on her 'special' Niall Tyrrell custom-made creation
We are obsessed with the dress.
As well as winning an Emirates Holidays trip to the Seychelles including flights, transfers and accommodation worth over €2,500, and a whopping €3,000 in spending money, the winner of Her's Best Dressed competition at the Galway Races walked away with a very special prize.
Pamela Uba – who stunned at Galway in a silver jumpsuit and dramatic hat – also won a custom-made dress from renowned designer Niall Tyrrell.
The pair have been working on the dress for a number of weeks, and invited the Her team along for a sneak peek.
Niall is a product Galway man, but it's at his Dublin studio that we meet. The ground floor is a designer's wonderland, filled with cut-outs, fabrics, stencils and sketches. Upstairs, his colourful recent collections are hanging on rails all around the room. Niall has a gold ornate mirror he bought in a vintage store 15 years ago hanging on the wall and classical music playing in the background. It's the perfect luxurious environment for to have a fitting of a one-of-a-kind dress.
Pamela is excited to put her dress on, and when she steps out from behind the curtain we're wowed. The silver pleated fabric is shot through with gold threads, and shimmers as Pamela moves. The ladylike silhouette and soft draping is given a modern edge by split sleeves and a separated neck tie. It's a standout piece.
After Niall fits the dress and makes a few final adjustments, I sit down with Pamela to ask about her style, how life has been since Galway and what she wanted from her bespoke Niall Tyrrell creation.
"It's been amazing," Pamela says of her time since winning Her's Best Dressed competition.
When talking about the dress fitting process, she gushes: "You don't get to do this everyday and Niall is one of the best out there. His stuff has been on red carpets so it has been an honour to be dressed in one of his designs."
Pamela explains that she loves to dress for her mood. Whether it's a power suit or a bodycon dress, she has to feel good in what she's wearing.
"I try to be classic but street chic. It depends... It depends on my mood on the day. I work in a hospital so I do have a lot of workwear co-ordinated into my wardrobe, but on weekends, I like to be in a little flowy skirt or a pair of shorts. Very calm and street.
"On a night out I would normally wear a bodycon dress. I love curves, I'm a curvy girl so I like to show it!"
When it came to her custom-made dress however, Pamela wanted something a design would stand out, and a piece that could be worn time and time again.
"I wanted something special that I could bring out on occasions, something wearable that I could wear to many events. I wanted it to just fit me and fit my style as much as possible."
So when will this special dress get its public debut? "The Christmas party! It's perfect for the Christmas party this year!"
As with all Best Dressed competitions, ladies plan months in advance to find the perfect outfit to wear to Galway. Pamela was such a striking winner this year – one who brought something young and different to 'racing style' – so I want to know her advice for women with their eye on next year's competition.
"I would say, be stay true to yourself. I didn't really follow any trends from previous winners, I went for what suited me.
"You will feel more comfortable and I think people will see that in you on the day. If you're wearing something that's not you and you don't really like it, it's going to show – so you have to like what you're in."
Pamela tried on many dresses from Niall's most recent collection – and each of them was stunning. I ask the designer where he gets his inspirations from, and what the process of designing a collection is like.
"I'm like a magpie," he says. "I'm always picking up inspirations, whether I go and see an exhibition or a movie or a black and white movie, I'll always take something from what I see visually. And I'm always sketching so I always record it."
It can be a lengthy process, designing a collection from start to finish, but Niall says that he's non-stop – constantly thinking of what he's going to do next.
"It can take up to four months, and that's just doing the collection, the prototypes and stuff. The inspiration and the drawing is ongoing. It's like having ingredients to pull from, I'm like a cook. I'm always putting the ingredients together."
When it came to dressing Pamela, Niall says that he wanted to sit down and have a conversation with her first before picking what dress would suit her best.
"I wanted to talk to her. When Pamela came in she tried on a few dresses and some of them were absolutely beautiful but I think it came down to her lifestyle. We said, 'let's choose one for your lifestyle, that you can wear at different events' – and I think that was the key.
"I think that's always the key for women dressing, they think 'where will I wear this to?' and 'how many wears will I get out of this?'. We wanted a special dress that would cover many different events for a long time to come."
For more information on Niall Tyrrell designs, visit his website. And keep checking in to Her for all the style updates you need ahead of next year's race season and the all-important Best Dressed competition on Ladies' Day at Galway.
Photography by Marc O'Sullivan