Dancing With The Stars’ Loraine Barry designs own dresses for RTE show with dance student

(Image: Kyran O’Brien)

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Dancing With The Stars judge Loraine Barry revealed her bespoke dresses have been designed and handmade by her and one of her dance students.

The four times world dance champion turned teacher previously said she was so broke in the early days of her career that she sewed feathers on costumes and cleaned flats to pay for dance lessons.

But it seems her creative streak still remains today – as she admitted she has been working on her own standout gowns for her head judge duties on the glitzy RTE dance show this year with the help of her dance student turned designer Francesca Lazzari.

Speaking after the show on Sunday, dressed in a show stopping black and white gown, Loraine explained: “She is the designer of my dress. It is also my idea as well, we both do it together.”

The Dubliner, 57, explained the idea was born out of Covid, when dancing opportunities stopped and professional ballroom dancer Francesca decided to use the time to study design.

“So she decided to go to art college and she lives in America, so she got her degree. She is so super talented."

(Image: Credit: Instagram)

“She also makes these gorgeous mugs and paints the picture of me wearing the dress on the mug,” Loraine added proudly.

The pair have been working together for months to get the dresses finished and show ready – from sourcing the perfect fabric in New York to Francesca’s handy work on the sewing machine.

The creative designer has also been documenting the process and sharing the step by step making of the gowns from the sketching phase to the moment Loraine steps out on stage.


Heaping praise on her work after the show, where she was inundated with compliments and queries on her one of a kind design, Lorraine said: “I felt wonderful and I have received the most amazing messages.”

As the second show wrapped on a historic note, with singer Erica Cody bagging the highest ever score for a first dance on Sunday night, Loraine gushed over the new energy present on set after the show was axed last year due to Covid 19.

Looking back on the loss of the show in her schedule, Loraine said it was a devastating blow on top of other job losses due to the pandemic – and told how she found herself praying for it to come back.

“It was devastating, really,” she told the Irish Daily Mirror.

“Not just not having the show, I adore Dancing With The Stars, but, in general, my whole world collapsed.

“All the competitions I adjudicate, all the teaching.

“I felt desperately sorry for all the competing couples in the world. And also for our own professionals as well. It is their livelihood, it is all our livelihoods and it all went.

The Cabra born star continued: “I was praying that we would come back. I felt that me, personally, I wanted and needed it.

“I knew the pros did as well. And I think Ireland needed it too. And our Dancing With The Stars is such a great show, it picks everybody up.”

Asked if she feels the energy bar has been raised on the show’s highly anticipated return in the past two weeks, she added: “I do think it is because we haven't been on air, so we are delighted to be back.”

Hailing paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane as a huge boost to the star-studded line-up, she added: “I mentioned her back in November and I am thrilled.

“It shows everyone that a disability, as she correctly says herself, never holds you back from anything if you really want to it.”

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