When it comes to glamorous evening wear, look no further than New York occasion-wear label THEIA Couture, headed by charismatic designer Don O’Neill. “Nothing sparkles more exquisitely that hand-beaded tulles and chiffons,” says O’Neill. “Nothing can reflect light more magically than crystals, fire polished beads and sequins.” It’s a belief that is reflected in his designs.
Born and raised in a small, seaside village in West Ireland, O’Neill originally trained as a chef before turning his attentions to his true love, fashion. Training with some of the most notable names in the business, from Lacroix to Gina Fratini—Royal Courtier and acclaimed ball gown designer—O’Neill’s THEIA creations are the kind of designs that shine whatever the occasion. And celebrities agree.
Since launching in 2009, O’Neill has dressed everyone from Oprah to Carrie Underwood. He quickly accrued a loyal fan base due to his attention to detail, exquisite cuts and ability to cater to comfort as well as style. “This is a very important issue,” says O’Neill. “Looking great in a dress and being comfortable is key to feeling good about yourself and enjoying your evening out. This is why I offer many different silhouettes within the collection,” he says. From including a stretch crepe panel to allow for a waist that’s “not as nipped as it used to be,” to back lines that are bra friendly, O’Neill’s creations are as practical as they are chic.
This season, be prepared for glittering cropped silhouettes and metallic brocades; timeless lace details and beaded gowns that will see you into the festive season in style. “The perfect after 5pm dress needs to have a touch of glamor to set it apart from a dress you could have worn to the office,” says O’Neill. “A little touch of shimmer or shine with a dash of sexy, as you head out into the evening for a romantic dinner or to cocktail party.” He recommends a lace dress that reveals some skin, or a pretty party dress silhouette in a gorgeous brocade with hints of lurex or a rich jacquard sheath dress. “The statement can be as big or as little as you are comfortable with,” says O’Neill. “But there should be no doubt that you have crossed the frontier from day to evening.” TheiaCouture.com — ANASTASIA RUBIN