For Pippa O’Connor, whose mother Louise died unexpectedly last October, one of her favourite memories is going into Dublin city centre from their home in Kildare for a stroll and a look around the shops together.
“Soaking up that atmosphere and surrounding yourself with all the activity that the city brings was always a highlight for me,” she explains from a plush suite at the Westbury hotel off Grafton Street, where she is in conversation with SHEmazing! for the launch of the Dublin Fashion Festival.
“Dublin holds its own versus the likes of New York, London, Milan or Paris,” she adds.
“I’ve travelled to lots of interesting places as a model – I’ve done the whole back-packing around south-east Asia in my early 20s thing – I’ve seen different places and how men and women dress differently in different parts of the world.
"And Dublin is as good as it gets when it comes to fashion.”
It’s high praise indeed from a woman whose styling knowledge and skills are currently in hot demand: her Pippa’s Fashion Factory events regularly attract hundreds of women, all eager to lap up the 30-year-old’s insider knowledge, top tips and expertise.
That and she scooped the Most Stylist title at this year's VIP Style Awards.
Not that such know-how necessarily came easily: Ms O’Connor says she made her fair share of fashion mishaps over the years.
“I’ve been modelling for more than a decade,” she explains, “so there are plenty of dire photographs of me knocking around online.
“In fact, whatever you do, don’t Google ‘Pippa O’Connor 2005’ or you’ll be met with some fairly horrific sights,” she laughs. “I’ve made all the usual errors: too short, too shiny, too much tan, too much makeup, bad hair extensions – the works.”
In fact, and now sporting sexy shoulder-length blonde waves, she reckons extensions are the average young Irish woman’s worst faux pas.
“I don’t mind hair extensions per say for volume or fullness or whatever,” she explains, “but that very OTT look, with mermaid curls down to your bum? No thanks – it’s a very dated look if nothing else."
Otherwise she reckons that finding clothes that fit well, and dressing for your own body shape goes a long way.
“If your bra doesn’t fit – that knocks off the rest of the outfit. So get your boobs measured!"
The Dublin Fashion Festival, of which Pippa is the face of for 2015, is now in its sixth year.
Taking place from Monday September 7 until Sunday September 13, it involves more than 200 retailers, restaurants, bars and hotels – all of which are coming together to create one of the city centre’s liveliest events.
Previous famous faces to front the festival include Laura Whitmore, Angela Scanlon and Amanda Byram.
“I remember seeing Laura and Angela getting involved in the Dublin Fashion Festival in previous years and thinking ‘oh I’d love to do that some day,’ so I’m genuinely ecstatic to be on board,” she explains.
“The shops in Dublin are brilliant – I was trying to source a piece recently in London and in the end I found it on my doorstep in Dublin. It was here all along! But that just proves that although it’s a small city – it packs a lot of fashion punch.
“We were launching the Fashion Festival earlier today around the Castle Market area and there is such a wealth of hidden-gem shops there. George’s Street Arcade is brilliant – one of the DFF’s events is a show there which I just can’t wait to see.”
Pippa recently returned from a trip away to California with her husband, TV presenter Brian Ormond, and toddler son Ollie. And she admits to being really taken with the area.
“We were in Calabasas – where all the Kardashians and Jenners live – and wow, is it amazing!” she says. “I would definitely love to live over there at some point, but I’d have to move for the right gig or opportunity.
"I won’t just be booking myself on the next flight without a firm poa.”
And why would she – her Fashion Factory events continue to go from strength to strength, while her hugely popular website, Pippa.ie, attracts hoards of women looking for styling and beauty advice.
This summer, she also released her first product – Pippa’s Palette – a massively successful collection of nude eyeshadows.
She's hopeful though that bigger and better is still to come.
“I have some very specific projects in the pipelines – it’s all within fashion – and I can’t wait to pursue it all. And my attitude is, ‘if you don’t try you don’t know’. If I don’t give these things a go, someone else will."
Indeed, Pippa hints that she’s already turned her hand to designing. “Yes, I sketch out ideas for clothing and accessories – my mind has worked like that for years.
"I’m always thinking of something new, or a new look or a new way of presenting a current trend.
"It’s a passion of mine definitely.”
In the meantime, she’ll be kept busy with the Dublin Fashion Festival – as part of the event she'll also present a live fashion show on Friday September 11 – not to mention absorbing the sights and sounds of her favourite city.
“I feel like Dublin’s come back into it’s own after the recession," Pippa states. "There’s a bit of bounce back now; it’s beginning to feel like its old self again.
“Just hopefully with fewer hair extensions!” she adds with a smile.
For more information and the latest news, including fashion shows, in-store events and booking information visit Dublin Fashion Festival’s website or their Facebook page. They're also on Twitter @DublinFashion, and Instagram @DublinFashion_