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CATWALK CATRIONA A SITE FOR SORE EYES; She sends builders up the wall.

WORK on a Dublin building site ground to a halt yesterday afternoon - and it's not hard to see why.

Twenty-year-old Catriona Balfe, the new face of Calvin Klein, gave workers a glimpse of the latest designs before stepping on to the catwalk last night.

The cream of Ireland's young fashion designers showcased their collections at the National College of Art and Design fashion show in the Olympia Theatre.

Monaghan-born Catriona was joined by models Vivienne Connolly and Glenda Gilson to show off the students' creations.

A newcomer to the catwalk scene, Catriona is now "officially the most in-demand Irish model", according to Assets Model Agency chief Derek Daniels.

He spotted 5ft 10in Catriona 18 months ago and signed her up immediately.

Catriona said: "I was working in Dunnes Stores in Rathmines doing charity work when Derek spotted me."

Since then she has become a hit on the catwalk and flew in from Paris for last night's show fresh from her year-long contract with Calvin Klein.

She said: "I am working with Calvin Klein, modelling their accessories worldwide."

Before her signing, Catriona was studying theatre in Rathmines and had no intention of modelling.

She said: "I never thought of modelling before, I would be in third year of college if I had not left, but I am definitely going back to college when I finish this."

However, Catriona has received a warm welcome into the modelling world.

She said: "When I was working on the Brown Thomas Show, all the models were there, such as Christy Turlington and Yasmin Le Bon, and they were all lovely to me.

"When I am working abroad, like in Paris, it's the same, all the girls are just the same as me."

But jetting around the world means Catriona doesn't get much free time.

She said: "I don't really ever get to see my family, but they all support me and my old friends all treat me the same."

After last night's fashion show Catriona had to fly back to Paris for another modelling assignment.

Fourteen fashion and textile graduates, together with second and third year collections, proudly showed off their beautiful designs.

The NCAD show featured 32 of Ireland's top models and TV3's Grainne Seoige presented the event which handed out awards to the most impressive designs.
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Author:O'Connor, Margaret
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2000
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