The Cointreau Hi Style Awards 2019 – Milliner of the Year Winner

The Cointreau Hi Style Awards 2020 - Milliner of the Year

Milliner of the year winner 2019

Sarah O' Rourke - Saraden Designs - Winner of Milliner of the Year 2019 - The Hi Style Awards

I am so proud of myself! Winning Milliner of the Year 2019 has been the highlight of my year! I put so much work into what I do and to have that recognised is a proud moment. A huge thank you to some of my friends, people I have worked with, family friends, family and strangers who voted for me.

The awards were held on November 23rd 2019 in The Clayton Silver Springs Hotel in Cork. Myself, my mum and my sister traveled down to Cork the day of the awards and stayed in the Clayton Hotel. 

Honestly I was so tired from preparing for Leicester Fashion Week 10 days before. I was literally sewing my head piece together for the awards the night before. Also myself and my mum made my dress. It was a challange and a half and again it was only finished the night before. So I slept the whole way down to Cork, I got in the car and I was gone. So by the time I arrived I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. 

My dress really had thewow factor and I was so happy at what I had created. 

Michael Mulcahy and his team created created a beautiful event. The room was gorgeous, there were gifts on the tables when we arrived. The food was gorgeous and there were spot prizes and I won one for best dressed so that was a lovely touch.

Hi's Milliner of the Year 2019

I have been asked numerous times did I know I had won before hand and the answer is no I didn’t. The whole moment went by in a flash. I was mid buying raffle tickets and I heard the category being announced. I nearly flung the poor girl out of my way as I listed to what Amanda Brunker was saying and suddenly Saraden Designs was announced.

So up to the stage I went and Amanda so was complimentary about my dress so I was delighted with that. I was a tad bit emotional, after all it was my first award to win. I had so many congratulations from strangers and Debbie who I had met the previous year was there and delighted to say she won an award in her category too.

Of course I got straight on the phone to my dad first who was delighted for me and then to my best friend Stephen, who obviously knew I wasn’t ringing to say I lost lols.

You can see to the left what was said before I was announced. I really don’t remember the moment too well, it is a bit of a blur. The award itself is a bottle of Cointreau mounted and as I keep telling eveyone that bottle will never be opened.

the dresses

Sarah O' Rourke - Saraden Designs - Winner of Milliner of the Year 2019 - The Hi Style Awards

Jennifer & Margaret O' Rourke

Sarah O' Rourke - Saraden Designs - Winner of Milliner of the Year 2019 - The Hi Style Awards

Sarah & Margaret O' Rourke

Jennifer: Dress - Macy's New York, Shoes - Arnotts
Margaret: Charity Shop, shoes - debenhams
Sarah: Dress - made by Sarah & Margaret O' Rourke, Head piece - saraden Designs, Shoes - Boohoo

Sarah O' Rourke - Saraden Designs - Winner of Milliner of the Year 2019 - The Hi Style Awards

The dress I made came in two pieces, the black dress and the sliver & black over skirt. The black dress origionally came from a pattern but I have to resize the whole thing and redraft the pattern. The legth was also an issue and was approx 8 inchs too short so I had to add the length to it.

The circle skirt I simply drew up a circle skirt pattern which is very straight forward and graduated the length making it short in the front and long at the back. I then lined the skirt and added horse hair braid inside the edged to give the skirt some body.

We were literally sewing and pressing the dress together the night before. As a designer however this is nothing new, I am use to working right until the last second. 

For my head piece I had an idea in mind. The fabric was made the day before using black and silver fibers. Thank goodness for radiators and I had the pieces on the rad after the were shaped and stiffened to dry.

I began to assemble them at 9pm so of course I was so tired at that point, however I was over the moon with the end result. I want to add some embellishment to the design and I had a broach that I pinned to the front. 


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