The artistic talent of a young woman from Newcastle was showcased in front of thousands at the recent Cannes Film Festival.
Grainne Wilson, a Leaving Cert student at the Presentation Secondary School in Clonmel, was part of a group from the popular recycled fashion competition Junk Kouture that hit the French Riviera with a bang during this year’s 66th film festival.
Grainne modelled her dress, titled Bold as Brass, which she made from discarded bullet casings and which was co-designed with fellow students Emma Clancy and Sinead O’Brien. Their creation finished second in the national final of last year’s Junk Kouture and the organisers decided that it and three entries from this year’s competition deserved the greater recognition that an event such as the Cannes Film Festival afforded.
While in Cannes the young models took part in a pop-up Junk Fashion show on the Criosette in Cannes to an audience of just over 20,000 people. They attended the inaugural Junk Kouture Cannes party on the beach and the four-day trip also included visits to Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo.
“It was absolutely mad, brilliant and incredibly intense because we had the paparazzi around us the whole time”, said Grainne, the daughter of Elke and David Wilson from Knockperry, Newcastle.
“All the tourists thought we were somebody famous and wanted to take our photo and kiss our hands”. The group met producers, film makers and artists and were brought on board a yacht. They were featured on French and Chinese television and did photo shoots for various magazines.
Speaking shortly after her return home, Grainne said she was exhausted. “My feet are killing me after walking around in heels for the week”.
After the glitz and glamour of Cannes she now has to turn her attention to more weighty matters, with the Leaving Cert due to begin next Wednesday, June 5. “I brought school books with me to France to study but there wasn’t a hope of opening them”, she says.
Not surprisingly, Grainne is hoping to study fashion at the Limerick School of Art and Design when she leaves secondary school.
The Junk Kouture competition, which is famed for transforming everyday waste and junk into pieces of high fashion art, has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2010. It has seen thousands of teenagers’ work submitted since then with some spectacular pieces gracing the competition’s regional and national catwalks, as well as the red carpet at the royal première of The Hobbit in London. Junk Kouture is the leading fashion and art competition for second level school students across Ireland and has a reputation as being the most creative.
Grainne says that her dress Bold as Brass takes a critical look at the huge expenditure of countries such as the United States on its stockpile of arms and weaponry.
The dress had another topical theme in that the organisers said it wouldn’t have looked out of place in the film The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann’s new adaption of the F Scott Fitzgerald novel.